New in the conversation this week, listen to my conversation about Chipotle in a link toward the end of this post and find a few suggestions of how you can impact this Chipotle conversation in your local area.
If you’ve been following along with the Chipotle story these past few weeks, it certainly hasn’t been positive coverage from most media outlets. Major editorial boards are calling them out on the lack of integrity in their marketing, bringing light to the science supporting GMO crop impact on sustainability and safety. The chain with 1,800 restaurants is being compared to the likes of the quackery normally seen from Food Babe, Dr. Oz and Jenny McCarthy.
There’s a big contradiction for the restaurant chain’s marketing to remove GMO ingredients based on concerns of health impacts (actually, some of the most tested and verified foods on the market), and serving meals upwards of 2,000 calories with a day’s supply of fat and sodium. I’m not lying, go to Chipotle.com and find your meal.
This news isn’t really about the question of serving niche food markets using non-GMO ingredients (note there are only 8 crops currently available (Corn (field and sweet), Soybeans, Cotton, Canola, Alfalfa, Sugar Beets, Papaya, Squash. See GMO Answers for more.) or the desire to source local, sustainable ingredients. This discussion stems from Chipotle’s lack of integrity in their marketing and use of fear to make most farmers and ranchers seem inferior to ideals of their campaigns, while refusing to allow conversations to correct the misinformation being spread.
Shaun Haney, with RealAgriculture.com, and I caught up earlier this week to discuss this problem with ‘integrity’ and the frustrations surrounding Chipotle. Read “Chipotle’s GMO-Free Stance and Dark Portrayal of Modern Farming Draws Ire of Farmers, Mainstream Media”, or listen to the audio here.
What can we do about it?
Chipotle’s marketing executives have shown they have little interest in allowing further conversation with farmers and ranchers who feel attacked by this marketing. BUT there are things we can do to make a local impact.
- Continue talking with your neighbors and see if they have any questions about agriculture.
- Brush up on your strategy to successfully address consumer concerns you encounter.
- Take a moment and learn how to respond to controversial issues.
- Use social media to share the experience of working on farms and ranches on a daily basis through photos and cell phone video clips.
- College Students: Find a campus organization discussing food policy and get involved.
- Approach the manager of a Chipotle restaurant in your area and ask if they’re aware of the fear and misinformation being used in Chipotle marketing.
- Do their customers express concerns about the topics raised in the marketing campaigns?
- Ask if they’d be open to hosting an ‘Ask A Farmer‘ type event where local, conventional farmers and rancher can come answer customer questions in-store.
And yes, Chipotle. I’m GM-Over Your Marketing Campaigns!
Why can’t we just let people eat their fast food burritos in peace?