Food Tech Connect, a blog platform for good food innovation, recently released their list of 70 Organizations Growing the Good Food Innovation Movement. We were happy to see a few large institutions and retailers made the list, for we believe these organizations play an integral role in changing the food system. While they may receive a lot of criticism, it is important to recognize that effecting change is difficult — and even more so on their scale — and the ripple effect of their work is substantial. One large institution featured by Food Tech Connect is fast-casual-favorite, Chipotle. Chipotle is working to change the face of fast food, and the impact is clear.
Chipotle is committed to sourcing high-quality ingredients from farms, not factories, and to preparing them by hand with classic cooking techniques. They purchase vegetables grown by local farms and meats from pasture-raised animals. Their simple, fresh food is free of both artificial ingredients and fillers. In 2013, Chipotle became the first national restaurant chain to disclose the presence of Genetically Modified Ingredients (GMOs) in their food. This transparency set a strong precedent for other organizations to do the same and by 2015, Chipotle had switched to all non-GMO ingredients.
These conscious choices not only support the health of Chipotle consumers, but also leave a positive impact on the environment. In partnering with farms that prioritize the the long term health of their land with nutrient-rich soil, Chipotle reduces the need for pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, their local purchasing means less vehicle emissions from transportation. Their commitment to purchasing meats from pasture-raised animals results in less reliance on antibiotics.
To add to Chipotle’s list of best practices, they also established their Cultivate Foundation, which supports initiatives backing sustainable agriculture, family farming, innovation, and culinary education. The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation has contributed over $2 million to these causes and is actively participating in the effort to make our food system more healthful and sustainable.
Chipotle is a great example of the power of large organizations in changing the food system. When a company of their size makes a change, it causes a positive ripple effect throughout the food system. Well done, Chipotle!