When it comes to ingredients, Chipotle Mexican Grill is all about integrity. As part of its official “Food with Integrity” program, the chain has announced that it expects to double the use of locally grown produce at its 1,100 locations nationwide.
According to Restaurant News, officials from Chipotle announced yesterday that the chain expects to up its usage of local produce (sourced from farms within 350 miles of the location where it will be served) to 10 million pounds, doubling the chain’s goal for 2010. In California, it’s reported, Chipotle already makes it a habit to use only locally sourced lemons, avocados, and cilantro, on top of jalapenos, lettuce, onions, and peppers that are sourced at least 50 percent locally at all locations.
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“Our commitment to serving food made with better ingredients from more sustainable sources is one of the key drivers of our business. While sourcing produce locally can be difficult -- particularly in regions with short growing seasons -- we continue to find like-minded suppliers to allow us to serve this better food. Not only is local produce fresher and better tasting, but it also helps support the environment and regional farming communities around the country,” said Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells in an official statement regarding the announcement.
Ells started Chipotle Mexican Grill’s “Food with Integrity” program in 1999, and has met increasingly impressive benchmarks every year since. As it stands today Chipotle boasts naturally-raised and antibiotic-free meat, as well as Certified Organic beans and dairy products from pasture-raised cows, at a great deal of its locations.