Chipotle: That’s Not Natural

Chipotle appears on my blog often – the burrito giant often brags about sourcing naturally raised meats while condemning conventional agriculture and even goes to such lengths to produce anti-conventional agriculture videos that are glaringly inaccurate, which makes them a high priority on the list of blog topics.

Which is why this photo I saw on Feedstuffs Foodlink’s Facebook page made me giggle.

This picture, courtesy Feedstuffs Foodlink, was taken by a customer in Kentucky although it’s worth pointing out that similar signs have been seen in Illinois Chipotle locations.

What does this mean? Well in this post, I talked about how Chipotle has said in the past that the economy sometimes prevents them from sourcing natural beef and chicken. Here is the excerpt verbatim:

“We do, however, face challenges associated with pursuing Food With
Integrity. For example, current economic conditions have led to natural
chicken and steak supply shortages. It can take longer to identify and
secure relationships with suppliers meeting our criteria, and there are
higher costs and other risks associated with purchasing naturally raised
or sustainably grown ingredients. The growing time for naturally raised
meat and sustainably grown vegetables can be longer. Herd losses can
also be greater when animals are not treated with antibiotics and
hormones and field losses can be higher for organically grown produce.
Given the costs associated with natural and sustainable farming
practices, and recently due to decreased demand as a result of the weak
economic environment, many large suppliers have not found it economical
to pursue business in this area.” — taken from Chipotle’s annual report.

What this means is that due to a variety of factors, many of which are likely drought/supply/economy related, Chipotle has found it absolutely necessary to use conventionally produced meat instead of natural. I’m guessing it’s either because it’s too expensive for them to turn enough profit or they simply can’t find enough of it to keep their supply chain running. Like I said, those are my speculations.

Several people commented on that post when I originally put it on my blog arguing that Chipotle didn’t actually say, “We are using conventional” and to those folks I say, is this the absolute proof you need? I should hope so.

I must applaud Chipotle for being honest and not hiding their conventional sourcing from customers, although I wish they’d just drop their elitist marketing ploy altogether.

Poll the audience: Who out there can honestly say that they buy food based solely on production practices and nutrition, without considering price?
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~


9 responses to “Chipotle: That’s Not Natural”

  1. If they are going to tell everyone when they are serving conventionally raised meat/produce, then maybe they should decrease their prices when they do so, too!

  2. Glad to see that they are letting folks know when it's not their normal product and that they have a strong demand for it. Might be a good show as well for the possible opportunity of more producers to join niche markets.

  3. Ag Proud – there are pretty decent premiums out there for niche producers. My in-laws produce natural beef for Ohio Signature Beef that goes into Whole Foods. I'm surprised that not more folks do it actually.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    They have had the same sign at their Frisco, Texas location for at least two months.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Was in the Frisco, TX location last night…and the sign was still up!

  6. Brandi, you beat me to this topic! My son loves Chipotle, so we eat there often. I've seen these signs in Kansas and now in Greensboro–and my response was similar to yours. What it tells me is they want customers to do as they say, not as they do when making food choices–Chipotle understands the necessity of being able to source foods from many different outlets. If I ever get my post written, I'll definitely link to yours. Well done!

  7. Thanks Aimee! I have only eaten at Chipotle once, many years ago, and don't eat there anymore – the combination of their Willie Nelson commercial and their marketing tactics of denigrating hardworking farmers and ranchers has put a bad taste in my mouth [no pun think intended]. And actually, I really don'ttheir food is that good.

    They're definitely not very good at practicing what they preach! Thanks for commenting and reading!