Ag Asks Chipotle, 'Who Smears Who?'

October 27, 2015 12:00 PM

Exasperated with Chipotle’s misleading marketing campaigns, the Center for Consumer Freedom launched a website mocking the restaurant chain's marketing campaigns last month.

CCF has also placed ads in The New York Times calling attention to what it calls “deceptive marketing tactics.” The ads drew the attention of Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus who interviewed both CCF’s Rick Berman and Chipotle’s Chris Arnold for today’s piece, “Why is a non-profit shill for business attacking Chipotle?”

The column inspired me to write an email to Lazarus encouraging him to look deeper into Chipotle’s marketing tactics. Read Lazarus’s column here then drop him a note and tell him what you think about Chipotle’s “Food With Integrity” motto, or leave a comment after the piece.

This is about what I said to Mr. Lazarus:

While it’s true that a watchdog could build great credibility among consumers if it’s not funded by business interests alone, it’s also true that not all businesses try to hoodwink consumers.

I invite you to write a column answering the following question: “Why does Chipotle attack beef and pork producers?”

Rick Berman’s attack ads about Chipotle may seem like a “smear campaign” to Chris Arnold and founder Steve Ells, but that’s exactly how America’s livestock producers feel about Chipotle’s marketing campaigns. Specifically, “Farmed and Dangerous” and “Scarecrow,” infomercials designed to scare consumers about their food and misrepresent the way farmers raise their animals, sow the seeds of doubt about our modern food system. And, of course, the message is clear – eat at Chipotle where we serve “Food With Integrity.”

Hogwash. Chipotle wants to sell burritos, and they are just as guilty of a profit motive as any of the businesses that fund Rick Berman’s Center for Consumer Freedom. Your column paints Chipotle as the victim. The real victims of Chipotle’s marketing campaigns are America’s farmers and ranchers.

One thing we know is that nothing is more credible in the marketplace than the voices of farmers and ranchers themselves—much more so than the spin of any columnist or reporter, anywhere. If I had my way, this column will spark a little righteous outrage among America’s farmers and ranchers to speak up about corporations such as Chipotle profiting through scare tactics and misleading marketing campaigns.

Go to it.

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Spell Check

Des Moines, IA
10/28/2015 09:41 AM

  I eat at Chipotle once a week. I will never eat there again. Nice lies coming from them to try and mislead consumers. Chipotle, you should be ashamed of yourself for this crappy misleading ad!

Alamo, TN
10/28/2015 09:33 AM

  Chipotle is guilty of using lies to incite emotional fear for an excuse to increase margins at the expense of the ag industry. Simple explanation. They should be held accountable for threating our affordable and safe food security.

Mt. Vernon, TX
10/28/2015 11:15 AM

  Chipotle is simply capitalizing on the truth. I am a farmer and you can farm like they are saying. The transition to farming without pesticides, hormones or antibiotics is difficult, but it can be done. Chipotle is making the alternative known. Chipotle's competitors have a lot more power in Washington than they do so they are trying to reach who they can. And of course they want to make a profit, if they don’t they will be out of business. I’m not sure being upset that Chipotle is informing the consumer is a good stance.


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