If you know me at all, you know that there are few things I love as much as a Chipotle burrito. And if you know that I live in a city two hours away from the nearest Chipotle, you know that I would go to great lengths (and I have) to wrap my hands around a heavenly, spicy, all-inclusive steak burrito from the kitchen of the magical pepper.
One of the things Chipotle has become known for in the food industry is what they call “food with integrity.” They illustrate this with a video set to the music of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” covered by country legend Willie Nelson.
“Cultivate A Burritoful World”
As a national restaurant franchise, Chipotle assures customers of their eco-friendly practices, and raising animals without hormones or antibiotics. For over a decade and into the foreseeable future, they promise to respect the environment, to respect animals, and to respect local family farmers with whom they do business.
It certainly seems like a breath of fresh air, especially for the food industry and all the flack it’s received (a la Food Inc. and pink slime accusations). Don’t get me wrong; I’m all in favor of this kind of corporate integrity, but it doesn’t impact my love for the taste of their burrito (except perhaps for the designation of free-range, grass-fed beef).
Slogans to Deceive?
At the same time, I’m not blind to the notion that corporations have and will intentionally brand themselves with exaggerations or blatant lies, just to convince the consumer market to buy their products.
Could it be that Chipotle is riding the wave of the “sustainable food” movement to boost sales and reach? How do we know? Is there verified independent research?
I’m certainly not in favor of neglecting the environment and local farmers and mistreating animals. Sometimes I buy local when I can. I used to work on a cattle farm, so I’d like to think I have a sincere respect for local family farmers and their grass-fed beef. I love being outdoors, but I’m not a full-on tree-hugger (maybe just a side hug).
Even if Chipotle’s eco-friendly claims are bogus, it would still be far too difficult to deny such savory, succulent burrito.
Does the “sustainable food” focus make sense to you, or is it just a fad that will eventually go away? Does this sort of branding make you like Chipotle more or less?