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The Week in Food: December 6 -13, 2020

A happy weekend to you. In this week’s fork pitch update, we found stories about food insecurity, further challenges and adaptations for restaurants, fish farming, re-purposing kitchen oil and the correct way to sear a steak. Enjoy!


  • A VACCINE approved and several more imminent.
  • A terrible week for COVID – 20K deaths; Jobless claims climbing – over 800k.
  • Tom Vilsack likely coming back to head up Agriculture. It may seem like a safe pick for the Biden Administration but he is a polarizing figure.
  • Important food insecurity programs – including the Farmers to Families Food Box program -are running out of money and due to expire December 31. This will cause a 50% loss in supply to food banks when demand is up 60%.


  • Employment down, food insecurity up, relief on hold. Strangely, shoplifting is up.
  • Probably related, Bodegas in NYC are hit by crime wave.
  • It is always hard to get consumers exposed to new products. New brands were already creatively pushing the envelope. The pandemic has aggravated that challenge.
  • Cereal makers hope to slow decline of category by repurposing cereals into snacking, or as a sugary additives to more relevant foods.


  • COVID spike closing restaurants again in many states and cities.
  • High end chefs find carry-out burgers a way to keep customers engaged and revenue coming in.
  • South Korean study shows COVID travels quickly and extensively in restaurants. Six foot separation may work out of doors but not in a dining room.
  • Chefs and other foodservice workers? Check. Equipment and supplies? Check. Empty rooms? Check. Why not do private dining in hotel rooms?
  • 21 Club closes in New York after more than 90 years. Never got to go there. It was a magnet for the powerful and the terrible. Among other places, It was immortalized in the movie The Sweet Smell of Success.


  • Smithfield trying to pass along waste as energy by building a pipeline. Neighbors are extremely skeptical.
  • However, if you are behind a truck and you suddenly think of french fries, here is why
  • Ocean stocks of many species of fish are disappearing. Only 1.5 million Atlantic Salmon remain in the wild. Current open pen fish farming schema yields huge amounts of waste and is not sustainable. The process of creating inland fish farms is tricky but the hope is that process will offer a long term solution where none exists.


  • An essay on how food defines us in quarantine.
  • Best way to sear meat. As much, I love the aesthetic of meat sizzling as it is thrown into a skillet, the research says start with a cold pan.
  • Using CRISPR to bring flavor and nutrition back to common foods. Yield, reliability and appearance have been emphasized over the years. Benson Hill hopes to restore the more important values.

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