Chipotle plays fast and loose with ag facts

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Call it satire or call it lies, Chipotle Mexican Grill is at it again, playing fast and loose with facts in their online miniseries, “Farmed and Dangerous.”

Released earlier this week, their first episode starts with a bang – literally – as a Holstein, fed a petroleum-based product, explodes. Chipotle has said previously the series is meant "to engage people through entertainment and make them more curious about their food and where it comes from." 

But is the popular restaurant chain feeding consumers the wrong message?

Some in agriculture, such as rancher Ryan Goodman, have gone to major media outlets to get their message across.

“Farmers and ranchers are not happy with the continued attack from Chipotle. With such a large production budget and a marketing team that knows how to sell to emotions of the consuming audience, Chipotle continues to win over fans with information and portrayals that are much less than accurate of modern food growers,” Goodman wrote in an opinion piece on CNN. “If Chipotle is so adamant about getting us to learn more about where our food comes from, why spend millions on animations and comedies? Why not talk to actual farmers and ranchers who are on the ground and know more about growing food than marketing executives?”

Read, “Opinion: A farmer's challenge to Chipotle.”

Others have taken to social media to voice their opposition to the series. Unlike the popular “Scarecrow” advertisement and campaign, a large number of comments left on the company’s social media accounts are negative or questioning Chipotle’s marketing strategy.

“Pretty sad when the greatest marketing tool this company has is to attack family farms and businesses to make themselves look and feel good about themselves,” one person left on Chipotle’s Facebook page.

“Shame on you, Chipotle, for preying on the fears of consumers, but more importantly, shame on those consumers who can't/won't take the time to research the real facts on their own!” another wrote.

One entertainment critic with Variety magazine was quick to question Chipotle’s bridge between advertising and programming.

“The marriage between advertisers and programming...remains an awkward one, even if their heart appears to be in the right place. Because “Why buy the cow when the milk’s laced with a petroleum-like substance?” could just as easily be read as “Why sit through a food-integrity lecture from a company that clearly has a dog in the fight, even if they sugar-coat the packaging?”

Click here to read more.

One blogger, a student at Iowa State University, listed six things Chipotle doesn’t want consumers to know, including:

  1. More than 95 percent of America’s farms are family farms.
  2. The strict regulations farmers and ranchers follow to eliminate antibiotic residue.
  3. Organic food production still uses certified chemicals, however these chemicals must be from a natural – not a synthetic – source.
  4. It takes 13 years for GMOs to be approved before entering the market.
  5. Using GMOs allow farmers to use fewer chemicals on their land.
  6. Pork and poultry are not treated with hormones.

Read more from Farm Girl Facts here.

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kansas  |  February, 19, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Time to stop playing nice with the cynical liars who hide behind "satire". They'll keep lying no matter what we "reasonable" things we do or say, because they're making money by exploiting the ignorant and gullible. It's time to get directly in their faces and, as our POTUS once advised his acolytes, "punch back twice as hard". Highly Publicized Boycotts, Picketing and Protests - protests being what Nancy Pelosi called "The highest form of Patriotism". If we can recruit a few celebrities from the ranks of Farm Aide or some other celebrities who allegedly support Family Farms, that would be good too. Somebody with an existing public platform - ?producer organization/publication? - should organize this. Let me (us) know when to get our Signs made and which Chipoltes to meet in front of - I'm ready.

kansas  |  February, 19, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Just one more thing... here's a few slogans/chants: "Chipolte Lies & Family Farms Die", "Hey-Hey, Ho-Ho, Chipolte's Lies Have Got To Go!", "Farmers United, Will Never Be Divided!", "Whose Farms? Our Farms! Whose Cows? Our Cows!", "Hey Chipolte Your Heart Is Black, You Can Have Your Burritos Back!". (Must thank PETA, Code Pink and OWS for the inspiration of these obvious gems)

Oregon  |  February, 24, 2014 at 09:43 PM

Consumer demand is what dictates buying power and Chipotle is responding to that, look at their stock price. So they are really doing conventional farmers a favor by pointing a way to a more prosperous future.

Pennsylvania  |  June, 13, 2014 at 08:47 AM

There are so many things wrong with raising animals in confinement. I applaud Chipotle for their marketing direction. American farmers have sprayed away all the naturally balanced ecosystem. The first year they do not aply chemicals there will be damage because the good bugs vs. bad ratio bugs is so unnaturally out of balance. Herbicides have eliminated a soil habitat food source... decomposing weeds feed soil dwellers. Mono cropping has lead to soils with no nutrition. Where nothing is composting, there is nothing in the dirt to feed earthworms and micro-organism which would naturally live in the soil and create plant food. This is not hard to figure out. The idea that modern farming would be better has not proven to be environmentally sensible, and really not economically sensible either.... hence crop subsidies and crop insurance at tax payer's expense. I will gladly pay more for meat that tastes better, is healthier for me and the planet and puts money in the pockets of our American, diversified farmer. Its a no brainer for me.

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