Sustainable, Local, Organic Suffering: The Chipotle Scam
March 7, 2012 3 Comments
Chipotle is truly shameless. The fast food company—once owned by McDonalds– has convinced millions of consumers that a burrito bomb stuffed with almost twice the calories of a Big Mac is an example of “food with integrity.” It would seem the epitome of absurdity to think that a meal contaminated with more than a full day’s worth of sodium and saturated fat could be good for you. But Chipotle pulls it off. How? They play their cards right. They play the “local” card; they play the “sustainable” card; and they play the “welfare” card. This royal flush of cynicism hides everything that’s wrong with the western, meat-and-dairy based diet. That manhole-sized tortilla wrap certainly helps, too.
The company’s shameless co-opting of the food movement’s rhetoric is as successful as it is unmatched. Its most recent advertisement deploys an arsenal of socially responsible terms to hit some weird cultural sweet spot between Farmville and Old McDonalds. See it here.
Lost in this dose of bucolic pornography is a very simple truth: any company that profits from steadily increasing sales of animal products is a company that is environmentally irresponsible, detrimental to our health, and indifferent at best to animal welfare. Chipotle calls its burrito “a foil-wrapped, hand-crafted, local farm supporting, food culture changing cylinder of deliciousness.” I call it a load of suffering wrapped in the worn cloak of sustainability. And that’s when I’m I feeling generous.