The Nov. 9 issue of Milling & Baking News marks the publication’s 99th anniversary and the start of its and Sosland Publishing Co.’s 100th year. We are deeply gratified to have reached this milestone — of the work that went into bringing you, our readers, this and the 5,166 other issues published every Tuesday without interruption since March 7, 1922.
We look forward to sharing our plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary beginning now and continuing through our anniversary year ending in March 2023. We will highlight an ambitious body of special editorial content to honor this milestone and on this page unveil a 100th anniversary mark. Created by our talented design department, the mark will appear across the spectrum of Sosland Publishing Co. print magazine and digital titles. Inspired by the artist’s discussions with numerous industry leaders about this company and its role, the mark seeks to capture the rich and, yes, colorful history of the people and the businesses filling the pages of this journal and SPC’s others. The interlocking arcs represent the powerful connections SPC has established across the industries we cover, relationships vital to understanding and then sharing the information on which our readers rely.
Other elements of the mark, though, are forward looking. The gradation of color and reduction in complexity signal our evolution and growth as we mature as a business-to-business publishing company, while the tail breaking off on the final zero is a challenging nod to our future, one that remains to be written.
In a real sense, the changes at Sosland Publishing Co. mirror the industries we write about. When The Southwestern Miller published its first issue in 1922, the US flour milling industry was fragmented to a degree probably unimaginable to many in milling today. Sixty-seven different milling companies advertised in the inaugural issue, a figure that grew steadily in the weeks that followed. Not one of the milling companies included in the first issue still exists under the same ownership (though it should be noted, appreciatively, that Shawnee Milling Co. advertised beginning April 4, 1922, and has been in every issue since).
It was the consolidation of milling within the Southwest and then into an industry with many companies establishing a national footprint, which ultimately led The Southwestern Miller to be renamed Milling & Baking News in 1972. And it was the diversification of baking ingredient companies into food ingredient suppliers that prompted the decision to begin publishing Milling & Baking News and Food Business News on alternating weeks, beginning in 2005.
In the two years ahead, Milling & Baking News and other SPC publications will publish centennial feature articles looking to the future but also back at transformational changes that created the modern grain handling and food processing industries. Topics have been selected with an eye toward informing the reader about historical events that played a crucial part in creating today’s industry and may shape its future.
To the degree it’s tough to imagine how the happenings of 100 years ago may be relevant today, consider one. In the 1910s, much of the flour milled in the Southwest was sold as family flour for home baking. The Spanish flu pandemic helped propel the rise of commercial bakeries already promoting packaged bread as a more hygienically safe choice than was bread baked at home, with family flour. The trend from home baking persisted after the pandemic, and the millers needed new outlets for their flour. It was in this environment members of the Sosland family were invited to start a magazine to help southwestern millers market their flour to commercial bakers. Through the dedication, determination and grit of the founders and subsequent SPC generations, the effort has been a nearly century-long success.
Coming amid the next global pandemic, the 99th anniversary seems more a moment for reflection than festivity. We pray that by the time the 100th arrives, the plague will be receding into the distant past, giving mankind plenty to celebrate.