Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Earth Friendly Burrito: Eating Green at Chipotle Mexican Grill

With the ever-growing wave of green thinking, the lunch bunch is continually searching for the ideal sustainable meal.

Look no further than Chipotle Mexican Grill and its offering of health-conscious, quick-serve lunch fare containing no artificial colors or flavorings and zero trans fat.

This year Chipotle expects to serve 200 million earth-and stomach-friendly meals. With a whopping 65,000 Chipotle flavor combinations, we’ve come up with the ultimate lean, green burrito.

Behold the key players:

–Cilantro-lime rice – Domestic rice, which means a smaller carbon footprint since it’s not flown across an ocean before being trucked to locations.
–Black and pinto beans – 30 percent of Chipotle’s black and pinto beans are organically grown, translating into pesticide-free, environmentally-friendly farming practices. The company hopes to continuously up that percentage as more supply becomes available.
–Carnitas – Chipotle only serves pork from ranchers committed to raising hogs naturally and humanely. That means no added hormones or antibiotics and a vegetarian diet. This, in turn, translates to fewer environmental issues such as groundwater contamination from waste. Also–Chipotle’s chicken and 50 percent of its steak are also naturally raised.
–Guacamole – During the summer, all of Chipotle’s avocados come from California; when that season ends the company sources from Mexico, and later in the year Chile. To reduce your carbon footprint, forgo the guacamole in the cooler months.
Chipotle stands by its Food With Integrity philosophy of doing business that is better for consumers, farmers and the environment alike. Here’s a few more ways the Chipotle makes good on its promise:

–Only serves real sour cream – as in no gums, stabilizers, or rBGH.
–Mozzarella and white cheddar cheeses contain no dyes or artificial flavors – and the cheeses are grated fresh daily.
–Frying oil is trans-fat free.
–Peppers and onions for fajitas are sliced fresh every day. Rice is made ever hour (sometimes twice an hour), and salad dressing is made twice a day – all to keep ingredients fresh and limit waste.
–Burrito bowls are made out of 99 percent recycled newspaper and cartons.
–Basket liners are made of unbleached paper.
–Napkins are made of 90 percent recycled materials.
–There are no freezers on site. Only one small walk-in for keeping cheese, veggies, cilantro, and sour cream cool.

Normally, I don’t get excited by corporate chains but I do believe that Chipotle is trying to do what’s right for the food supply and the environment, thusly benefitting the dining consumer. Also they have one of the best designed websites.

What do you think about Chipotle? Are you lunch decisions made by eating sustainably? On what basis do you choose lunch options?

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