In the past 5 years Chipotle has become particularly popular as its competitors like McDonald’s and Taco Bell have been falling so far behind that Chipotle can’t even see their Drive-Thru signs in its rear view mirror. You’re all sarcastically saying, “Oh no, why? McDonald’s is so great.” (Well, I hope that’s what you’re saying.)
In 2010 the Mexican grille had 976 stores. It has now expanded to 1,831 locations. We’ve all proven to evolve into an increasingly health conscious mindset, forcing restaurants that don’t hold nutrition at high standards to either change their protocol or get out of town!
It’s not a secret that Chipotle has recently rid a large majority of its food of GMOs but what led up to this? Of course it’s been years in the making. In fact, 16 years in the making!
Steve Ells, founder, co-CEO and Chairman of Chipotle, was encouraged in 1999 by an article written by Edward Behr to visit Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. The experience was, “horrifying” to the fast food restaurant founder and immediately influenced his decision to only source from open-range pork farms.
In 2001 he adopted a commitment to Food With Integrity, which promised that the Mexican restaurant would focus on the quality of their food by using natural food, dairy without added hormones, naturally raised meat and organic products. Ells wrote about this decision to the Huffington Post in a op-ed in 2014.
The restaurant is still working on gaining the ability to consistently provide food that fits the standards of their Food with Integrity statute. They also acknowledge that their drinks include sweeteners enhanced with GMO corn.
Last December Chipotle announced that it did not have enough of the pork needed to make carnitas for just that reason. A farm failed to uphold the regulations and the restaurant chose not to work with them despite the disappointment of their customers. The shortage continues to cut into sales for the company.
Many of the tactics that Chipotle is implementing in order to keep their Food with Integrity and without GMO’s, will be costly. The restaurant will increase prices by about 6% within the next year but the quality will be much healthier than competitors’ and isn’t our health worth it all?