Chipotle’s Attempt at Sustainable Production





Chipotle’s Attempt at Sustainable Production

Chipotle’s ideology on naturally produced food is increasingly becoming incongruent with its daily practice. The acclaimed Mexican grill has been running an intensive marketing campaign portraying its pro-sustainability stance to the public. In fact, its whole food model is based on leveraging the efficiency of fast foods and the healthy practices of the Mexican food culture. Their emphasis on authentic ingredients has attracted the health conscious market aimed at reducing the obesity prevalent in the US. These customers are willing to pay premium prices for a healthy lifestyle. The recent shortage of locally reared beef has been a test to their portrayed image. Rather than weather the low season, Chipotle opted to compromise on its founding principle.

Chipotle’s mantra of food with integrity was hinged on the premise that the restaurant would spearhead a food revolution. In the pursuit of the said revolution, Chipotle strove to implement two main strategies. These were optimizing the naturally sourced ingredients that were in season and to ensure they acquired an equally healthy alternative when its first choice ingredient is depleted. When Chipotle’s sustainable cuisine rhetoric is challenged their turn defensive. They claim that considering the circumstances they are trying their level best. This implies that the model will only be relevant in easier situations. Chipotle have been faced by a dilemma inherent to the capitalistic system .Unfortunately, they chose the easier alternative. They have sacrificed their ideals at the altar of profit maximization. As such, they meet the health conscious demand, who pay premium for their products, with standard industrially manufactured ingredients. In the past, they would have forgone profits to maintain their motto on conscious eating. When faced with a shortage of pork they opted to remove it from its menu until the market improved. The shortage of beef, which is a staple ingredient to the core delicacies, weakened their resolve. They claimed have deliberated for long before considering industrial beef as an alternative. Being the self-proclaimed ambassador of sustainability in the industry, they had failed in their primary mandate of inspiring their peers.

The inconsistency between their outward portrayal and their pragmatic decisions has enduring implications for their business model. The sustainability model is an optional endeavor. They must not feel pressured to keep it. Chipotle is attempting to optimize it profits from both sides while attacking an industry where it is a beneficiary. The processed foods are not entirely evil as they provide employment to many people. Even before the supply, problems started plaguing the restaurant it kept an illusion of healthy practices. Chipotle menu has always contained a degree of manufactured ingredients. The restaurant should mobilize people with the same vision and lobby for more focus on sustainable agriculture. The satirical advertisements that they are use to disparage farmers are retrogressive. This is because they antagonize potential partners.

Chipotle model is encouraging as they intended to promote healthy eating habits. However, the firm should try to unite all the stakeholders in the agricultural industry rather than victimize some them for their choices. The restaurant should constantly innovate ways of getting fresh produce instead of waiting for a crisis to arise then respond to it. The implementation of an ideal is more important than its theoretical suppositions. The company should understand that the sheer will and ambition regardless its intensity is inconsequential if not translated into tangible steps.


Works Cited

McWilliams, James. “Chipotle’s Choice: A Shift Away From Responsibly Raised Beef.” Pacific Standard (2013).

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