Chipotle Sets a Higher Bar for Sustainability

Chipotle Sets a Higher Bar for Sustainability
The retailer describes its new Real Foodprint tool as a sustainability impact tracker.

Chipotle has launched a sustainability and transparency tool for consumers — the latest effort from foodservice providers and food retailers to appeal to environmentally-focused consumers.

The retailer describes its new Real Foodprint tool as a sustainability impact tracker that compares average values for each of Chipotle's 53 real ingredients to their conventional counterparts against five (5) key metrics:

  • Less carbon in the atmosphere (measured in grams).
  • Gallons of water saved.
  • Improved Soil Health (measured in square feet).
  • Organic Land Supported (measured in square feet).
  • Antibiotics Avoided (measured in milligrams)

Chipotle say it is the first brand to provide detailed impact data about its ingredients for guests, holding the brand accountable for cultivating a better world.

Metrics for Real Foodprint are provided by HowGood, a mission-driven, independent research company with the world's largest sustainability database for products and ingredients. HowGood aggregates information from Chipotle's suppliers and over 450 unique data sources, including peer-reviewed scientific literature, industry findings, and research from government and non-governmental organizations, to evaluate the average impact of Chipotle's 53 real ingredients on the environment and animal welfare. Chipotle is the first restaurant brand to partner with HowGood.


At the order confirmation screen on the Chipotle app and, guests will receive data on five key metrics computed based on averages for the ingredients included in their order. The tracker compares Chipotle's ingredients and sourcing standards to an industry average, and the metrics provide a snapshot of computed environmental savings across categories. Fans can use the simulator on the Real Foodprint site to share their order's tracker results with their followers using the latest technology from Twitter. 

"Beyond asking people to make the right choice for the climate based on a carbon label, we are demonstrating the impact of our sourcing practices through data computed based on the ingredients in our guests' orders," said Caitlin Leibert, head of sustainability, Chipotle. "While our guests can make good choices for the planet by simply eating at Chipotle, the radical transparency provided by Real Foodprint also holds us accountable to improve our practices and source more sustainably over time. It is the combination of transparency for our guests and Chipotle's commitment to higher standards that make Real Foodprint so impactful."

Chipotle has teamed up with Bill Nye the Science Guy to demonstrate how Real Foodprint works. In a TikTok video, Bill explores the environmental savings data computed for his favorite Chipotle order, a burrito bowl with white rice, black beans, chicken, roasted chili-corn salsa, and Queso Blanco.  Bill Nye's burrito bowl is now available in the Chipotle app and for a limited time. 


Earlier in October, Burger King, as part of its Restaurant Brands for Good framework, launched a partnership with TerraCycle’s circular packaging service, Loop, to pilot a closed-loop system with zero-waste packaging that can be safely cleaned and refilled to be reused, again and again.

Starting in 2021, select Burger King restaurants in New York City, Portland, and Tokyo will be among the first to implement the model, with more cities expected to be added in the coming months. Participating restaurants will feature a collection system, in which guests can return the packaging to be safely cleaned through Loop and reused at Burger King restaurants. Those who opt for the reusable packaging are charged a deposit at the time of purchase, and when the packaging is returned, they receive a refund.

Meanwhile, a recent national survey of Kroger shoppers conducted by 84.51˚, the grocer's data analytics subsidiary, revealed that food waste prevention is top of mind for many families as they continue to enjoy more meals together at home — yet another sign of how consumers are embracing sustainability. The company said that it's inviting customers to join its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste effort via the following methods: rounding up their purchase to the nearest dollar or committing a donation of their choice ($1, $5 and $10 in value) at checklanes across nearly 2,800 Kroger banner stores. Customers can also direct individual gifts via e-commerce orders.

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