Chipotle Mexican Grill says it expects to use more than 10 million lbs. of produce from local farms in 2011, up from its 2010 goal of 5 million pounds
June 22, 2011
– Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG - News) announced that it expects to use more than 10 million pounds of produce from local farms this year, up from its 2010 goal of about 5 million pounds. Chipotle’s local produce will be grown on farms within 350 miles of the restaurants where it will be served. The company began serving locally grown produce in its restaurants in 2008, and has been working to increase its local produce supply each year since beginning the program.
“Our commitment to serving food made with better ingredients from more sustainable sources is one of the key drivers of our business,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “While sourcing produce locally can be difficult — particularly in regions with short growing seasons — we continue to find like-minded suppliers to allow us to serve this better food. Not only is local produce fresher and better tasting, but it also helps support the environment and regional farming communities around the country.”
Whenever possible, Chipotle works with local, family owned farms to provide bell peppers, jalapenos, oregano, red onions and romaine lettuce for its restaurants. In California, the company also sources locally grown lemons, cilantro and avocados, and it gets tomatoes locally in California and Florida.
For many regions across the country, locally grown produce is available for a relatively short time (approximately June through October), while in other regions (like California), the growing season is considerably longer, even year-round. Chipotle works within each region to ensure it brings the freshest food possible to its 1,100 restaurants nationwide. It remains the only national restaurant chain with a significant commitment to serving locally grown produce.
According to author Michael Pollan, the average food item in America travels 1,500 miles from farm to table. In 2008, Chipotle began its locally grown produce program, committing to serve at least 25% of at least one produce item from local sources in each of its markets when seasonally available. By 2010, that commitment had doubled to 50%. This year, Chipotle will continue to add to its local produce program and expects to use more than 10 million pounds in all.
Beyond its use of local produce, Chipotle also serves more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant company, organically grown beans (40% in 2011), and all of its cheese and sour cream is made with milk from cows that are never given the synthetic hormone rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone). Additionally, Chipotle is rapidly increasing the percentage of pasture-raised dairy, and expects that all of its dairy will reach this standard within a year. Chipotle calls its commitment to better ingredients from more sustainable sources “Food with Integrity.”
“Finding sustainable sources for food in each region can be difficult,” said Ells. “But we are committed to serving food made with the finest ingredients available. The more consumers understand the benefits of eating food from more sustainable sources, the more they’re going to expect it from everyone.”
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that where possible are sustainably grown and naturally raised with respect for the animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food. A similarly focused people culture, with an emphasis on identifying and empowering top performing employees, enables us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and currently operates more than 1,100 restaurants. For more information, visit Chipotle.com.
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