Fast food. Healthy? Responsible? Even good?
The Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle seems to think so.
Is it possible to have a fast food company that seems to actually care about not only their customers and bottom line, but also the food they source and create and the environment? Seems like a marketing scam to me. But, this is exactly the message I received when a Chipotle commercial played on the big screen while waiting in my local theater for a movie to begin. The commercial immediately caught my attention. I mean, for starters Willie Nelson is doing a cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist”. One of my favorite songs. And who doesn’t like the Red Headed Stranger? The animation is modern, even sweet. But it was the message that really hit home for me. Ingredients sourced from farmers who are acting in a responsible and ethical manner toward their animals, produce and environment. I waited, excitedly wondering who the evangelical company was behind this commercial. Who was this food advocate? Needless to say, I was shocked to see that it was a Chipotle commercial. I mean, it’s fast food and perhaps even worse (to me) it was once owned by the grim reaper of all fast food companies, McDonald’s. Is this just a cleverly conceived marketing ploy taking advantage those farmers’ market going-organic food buying-almond milk drinking urbanites? Perhaps Chipotle is just trying to tap into the growing foodie movement and all the dollars that brings. Really, the oldest scam in the book: Greed disguised as Sincerity.
So, I did a bit of research on Chipotle and well, it seems that Chipotle is not really that bad. I say this with a caveat, however, because while they seem to responsibly source their ingredients, this doesn’t mean you should go nuts and order a sour cream-laden, guacamole filled, cheese smothered barbacoa burrito, ie, your entire caloric intake in one meal. But, I guess, what I’ve concluded is that if you must eat fast food (and it is very convenient), then spend your dollars at a place that strives to make a difference. Such as,
- Pasture-raised pork
- First company to ban the growth hormone rBGH in all their dairy products
- Buys from family farms thereby giving more money back into the community
- Supports sustainable meat
- Buys organic produce whenever possible
So, what’s my message here: I’m not giving carte blanche to just give up and stop cooking at home. But, perhaps Chipotle is one fast food company that may be getting some things right. If more fast food companies followed their lead it would make a dramatic impact on our food environment. Most likely, for the better.
What do you think about this post? Is there any validity with this argument?