The ‘guacamole gambit’: Chipotle threatens customers over climate change

The ‘guacamole gambit’: Chipotle threatens customers over climate change

[Ed. – See emphasis for the self-imposed aspect of this.]

Chipotle Inc. is warning investors that extreme weather events “associated with global climate change” might eventually affect the availability of some of its ingredients. If availability is limited, prices will rise — and Chipotle isn’t sure it’s willing to pay.

“Increasing weather volatility or other long-term changes in global weather patterns, including any changes associated with global climate change, could have a significant impact on the price or availability of some of our ingredients,” the popular chain, whose Sofritas vegan tofu dish recently went national, said in its annual report released last month. “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.” …

[W]hile the avocado industry is fine at the moment, scientists are anticipating drier conditions due to climate change, which may have negative effects on California’s crop. Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for example, predict hotter temps will cause a 40 percent drop in California‘s avocado production over the next 32 years.

Chipotle’s commitment to organic, local, and sustainable farming practices is also one of the reasons why it may be more susceptible to unexpected climate shifts. As the company notes, its food markets “are generally smaller and more concentrated than the markets for commodity food products,” meaning Chipotle buys from producers that are less able to survive bad farming conditions without raising prices. And those prices have already been raised significantly over the last year, Chipotle said.

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