With new advertising, new packaging and a new website at its heels, Chipotle Mexican Grill is taking a big step forward for the natural foods movement. Chipotle’s campaign revolves around a theme trumpeted by the “fast casual” burrito company for some time now—“Food with Integrity”—but more closely aligns all of the brand messaging to this core belief.
In a statement to Food CEO, Chipotle Chief Marketing Officer Mark Crumpacker put it this way: “We think the time is right to focus more of our marketing on our commitment to finding the best sustainably raised ingredients we can. While we have never sourced these ingredients to be a marketing platform, it is what makes Chipotle so different from other restaurant companies, and we think people are more receptive to hearing it now than ever before.”
Also in the news, Chipotle CEO Steve Ells has backed an upcoming reality program for NBC that pits aspiring restaurant owners against each other in food-service contests. Ells is a classically trained chef in his own right, and the program, America’s Next Great Restaurant, should be a vehicle to promote his expertise and, by extension, the taste and quality of his burritos.
NBJ Bottom Line
By choosing to focus its popular and growing brand around a wellness and sustainability message, Chipotle is betting that American consumers are ready to base more of their buying decisions around the backstory of specific food ingredients. Many in the industry have been waiting for a day like this, a day when food purchasing extends beyond taste alone.
In a close look at the healthy foods movement taking hold of fast-food operators nationwide, Nutrition Business Journal highlights Chipotle’s flexible and committed approach to natural and organic meats, local and seasonal produce, and hormone-free dairy. The company is clearly setting the standard for a healthier, smarter approach to fast food with 750,000 customers each day, $1.5 billion in 2009 sales, 950 stores nationwide and plans to open 120 more in 2010.
Other companies bringing a healthier approach to faster, more casual food service include Good Times, Panera Bread, Burgerville, Naked Pizza and Evos.
For the full story behind Chipotle, and the opportunities now developing for nutrition companies—especially natural & organic and functional food suppliers—in fast food, check out NBJ’s 2010 Nutrition Industry Overview, available later this month through our website.
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