Quantcast

Chipotle Warns Climate Change Could Cut Guacamole From Its Menu

Food

Chipotle has issued the following warning to investors: Extreme weather events “associated with global climate change” might eventually affect the availability of some ingredients that go into burrito toppings, like its signature guacamole.

Since Chipotle has a commitment to using local produce grown on farms within 350 miles of a given restaurant, it's likely that California locations are the ones at highest risk of experiencing climate change drought effects.

“In the event of cost increases with respect to one or more of our raw ingredients, we may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas, rather than paying the increased cost for the ingredients,” the popular chain said in its annual report released last month. 

Chipotle continued saying it recognizes the impact its restaurants and its customers would experience if it decided to increase the price of or suspend a menu item, but the factors leading to such decisions are sometimes out of the company's control: 

"Our profitability depends in part on our ability to anticipate and react to changes in food and supply costs. Like all restaurant companies, we are susceptible to increases in food costs as a result of factors beyond our control ... The cost of many basic foods for humans and animals, including corn, wheat, rice and cooking oils, has increased markedly in some years, resulting in upward pricing pressures on almost all of our raw ingredients including chicken, beef, tortillas and rice, increasing our food costs. Food prices for a number of our key ingredients escalated markedly at various points during 2013 and we expect that there will be additional pricing pressures on some of those ingredients, including avocados, beef, dairy and chicken during 2014."

To put things in perspective, the avocado operation at Chipotle, for instance, is gargantuan.

On average, the company mashes up 97,000 pounds of avocado every day to make its "guac"—which adds up to nearly 40 million pounds of avocados on an annual basis, according to the company's website

While the avocado industry is relatively stable for the time being, scientists anticipating drier conditions due to climate change predict California's crops will be severely impacted.

Chipotle cited a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory study, for instance, that predicts hotter temps will cause a 40 percent drop in the Golden State's avocado output over the next 32 years.

Since Chipotle has a commitment to using local produce grown on farms within 350 miles of a given restaurant, it's likely that California locations are the ones at highest risk of experiencing climate change drought effects.

Moreover, Chipotle, along with companies that share its vision of selecting ingredients best fit for patrons, the environment and farmers, could see their ethical business model collapse under the weight of climate change. 

Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A new report spotlights a U.N. estimate that at least 275 million people rely on healthy coral reefs. A sea turtle near the Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef is seen above. THE OCEAN AGENCY / XL CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY

By Jessica Corbett

In a new report about how the world's coral reefs face "the combined threats of climate change, pollution, and overfishing" — endangering the future of marine biodiversity — a London-based nonprofit calls for greater global efforts to end the climate crisis and ensure the survival of these vital underwater ecosystems.

Read More
Half of the extracted resources used were sand, clay, gravel and cement, seen above, for building, along with the other minerals that produce fertilizer. Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty Images

The world is using up more and more resources and global recycling is falling. That's the grim takeaway from a new report by the Circle Economy think tank, which found that the world used up more than 110 billion tons, or 100.6 billion metric tons, of natural resources, as Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

Read More
Sponsored

By Gero Rueter

Heating with coal, oil and natural gas accounts for around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. But that's something we can change, says Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passive House Institute in the western German city of Darmstadt.

Read More
Researchers estimate that 142,000 people died due to drug use in 2016. Markus Spiske / Unsplash

By George Citroner

  • Recent research finds that official government figures may be underestimating drug deaths by half.
  • Researchers estimate that 142,000 people died due to drug use in 2016.
  • Drug use decreases life expectancy after age 15 by 1.4 years for men and by just under 1 year for women, on average.

Government records may be severely underreporting how many Americans die from drug use, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University.

Read More
Water coolers in front of shut-off water fountains at Center School in Stow, MA on Sept. 4, 2019 after elevated levels of PFAS were found in the water. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

In a new nationwide assessment of drinking water systems, the Environmental Working Group found that toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS are far more prevalent than previously thought.

Read More