Chipotle Mexican Grill, the national chain of burrito restaurants, announced recently that all of the beef it uses in its barbacoa, a spicy shredded beef, is now naturally raised, bringing its total of naturally raised beef to nearly 23 million lbs., including both steak and barbacoa. The move solidifies Chipotle as the largest restaurant seller of naturally raised meat and underscores its commitment to serving "Food with Integrity."
In all, Chipotle expects to serve more than 75 million lbs. of naturally raised meat in 2010, including all of its pork, more than 80% of its chicken, and 85% of its beef. All of its naturally raised meat comes from animals that are raised in a humane way, never given antibiotics or added hormones, and fed a pure vegetarian diet.
"When we started serving pork from naturally raised pigs more than a decade ago, we did it because we thought it was a better way to raise animals and it produced better tasting food," said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. "That gave rise to our commitment to find better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use. We call this commitment 'Food with Integrity' and it is one of the ways we are changing the way people think about and eat fast food."
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Livestock producers love competition, but that competition should be fair and free of tactics that instill fear in the public and undermine public trust in the industry. The Chipotle chain is a good case in point. The chain has used over-the-top billboards to promote its food products and call into question the safety and nutrition of conventionally produced meat products, marketing claims that scads of science has shown is unfounded. According to this PR release from Chipotle, the tactics of fear, however, have paid off for the taco chain. Take a look at the release and let me know what you think?