Chipotle Mexican Grill joins the ranks of Arby’s and Taco Bell as fast food restaurant chains abstaining from alternative proteins. For now.
CEO Brian Nicole says Chipotle’s commitment to simple food created from just 51 ingredients will not feature alternative proteins the company considers too processed for its customers.
“We’ve spoken to those folks and unfortunately it would not fit with our ‘food with integrity’ principles because of the processing,” Niccol told Bloomberg. “If there’s a way for them to do this that would match our ‘food with integrity’ principles, I’m sure we would continue talking with them.”
Chipotle is currently doing all of its culinary development of new products internally, he added.
In response, Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown invited Chipotle to visit its factory in Columbia, Missouri, and suggested that meat producers are worse.
“You can come to our facility anytime,” Brown said in an interview on Tuesday. “Don’t call me, just knock on the door. I invite you to do the same with all of Chipotle’s meat-processing facilities. They won’t let you, and if they did, you wouldn’t want to see it.
The 2,500-unit chain – which last week reported strong second-quarter same store sales – is doing its own new product developments when it comes to new or adjusted menu items, Niccol added.