Chipotle Mexican Grill plans to serve more than 10 million pounds of locally grown produce – grown on farms within 350 miles of the restaurants where they will be served – for a second straight year, an increase from 5 million pounds served two years ago, the company said.
In 2011, the restaurant chain’s local produce haul included 3.6 million pounds of bell peppers, more than 400,000 pounds of jalapenos, 2 million pounds of red onions, 4.7 million pounds of romaine lettuce, and a combined 300,000 pounds of cilantro and oregano. Its California locations also source locally grown tomatoes, lemons and avocados.
Chipotle said that it has steadily increased its locally sourced produce supply since beginning the program in 2008.
As well, the company said that it serves significant quantities of organically grown beans and cilantro, and partners with Food Alliance certified growers to source beans that use conservation tillage methods.
According to the company website, in 2010, Chipotle set a target to obtain at least 50 percent of at least one produce item from local farms when seasonally available, acknowledging that it is not possible or practical to get all ingredients locally.
The company says it sources 100 percent of its meat from animals that are “naturally raised,” meaning the animals are never given antibiotics or added hormones. The company highlighted these efforts in its national ad campaign, “Back To The Start,” which won a 2012 Cannes Branded Content & Entertainment Lions Grand Prix.
In 2008, the chain introduced sustainable plastic cutlery at a California site restaurant with the plan to roll out use to its other locations, and in 2009, Chipotle announced plans to install solar panels at 75 locations.
Photo: Business Wire