Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kudos for Chipotle; Showing Food, Inc. in 32 Cities

With more than 860 eateries, listing all of the venues in the Chipotle Mexican fast-food chain in Healthy Highways would be impossible. (By contrast, the largest health food chain, Whole Foods, currently has about 240 stores.) And while Chipotle still has a way to go from a wholefoods standpoint – the rice is white and the tortillas from refined flour – for a large scale “fast food” company they have a lot to commend them. For example, the black beans are vegetarian, the sour cream and cheeses are free of the synthetic hormone rBGH, the cheese is made with vegetable rennet (a matter of interest to some vegetarians), and trans fatty acids are nowhere to be found. Moreover, all the pork and chicken (in the U.S.) is “naturally raised,” as is the beef at 50% of the eateries. About 30% of the beans are organic and some of the produce comes from local farms. In addition, over three hundred of the restaurants recycle glass, plastic, and/or cardboard (To find out more about locations and practices in your area, go to http://www.chipotle.com/.)

Now, in addition to their efforts to elevate the quality of fast food, Chipotle is making an attempt to educate consumers about unsavory corporate food practices by backing free screenings of the documentary Food, Inc. in 32 cities. The movie examines the ills of modern food production and the influence of major agriculture companies in shaping government policy. Chipolte is also providing promotional material in all their locations and on the website. The objective is, naturally, to promote its own eco-friendly philosophy.
While the Chipolte-supported screenings take place on just a single night at a local theater in each targeted city, and most of them have already taken place (a bunch are showing Thursday, July 16), this commendable film is also in theaters throughout the U.S. Be sure to bring friends and family if you want to give them an unforgettable, eye-opening experience.

Let's hope they increase showings to more locations.