Nick Fetty | June 26, 2014
Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced plans to purchase more than 20 million pounds of locally grown produce for its restaurants this year, up from 2013’s goal of 15 million pounds.
The Denver-based restaurant chain will rely on 45 local farms around the country to provide bell peppers, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, oregano, red onions, romaine lettuce, and tomatoes when seasonally available. Locally grown avocados and lemons will also be available at select locations.
Recent reports show that consumers are embracing locally grown produce initiatives at restaurants and grocery stores. Locally grown produce was listed as #2 for Top Trends according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Culinary Forecast. The National Grocery Association 2014 Consumer Panel found that 87 percent of consumers regard the availability of locally grown produce as “very/somewhat important” during grocery store visits.
Chipotle has been environmentally sustainable with other efforts such as serving more Responsibly Raised meat than any other restaurant company in the country as well as opening the nation’s first platinum LEED-certified restaurant. Despite these efforts, Chipotle has received criticism for importing beef from Australia and also for misleading advertising campaigns.
There are more than 1,650 Chipotle restaurants nationwide with six locations in Iowa.