Pork Trouble Doesn't Bode Well for Chipotle

Analyst wonders if chain can keep expanding and stay true to sustainability
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Satch1313
Posted Jan 14, 2015 2:21 PM CST
A Chipotle's restaurant in Denver.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(Newser) – Those looking for pork in their burrito at Chipotle in the near future might be out luck. The chain has suspended pork sales at a third of its 1,700 US restaurants over an unnamed supplier's treatment of pigs, reports MarketWatch. The issue is that the pigs didn't have access to the outdoors or to barns with bedding that the company considers adequate. It's not clear how long the shortage will last. Observes Bloomberg: "Chipotle is protecting its image as a socially responsible company, part of its appeal to younger customers who also seek healthier options and higher-quality ingredients."

This is a first for Chipotle, and Roberto A. Ferdman at the Washington Post writes that it highlights a problem with the chain's grand plans to be an even bigger player in the fast-food industry. Its emphasis on sustainability is admirable, but it might not be practical if Chipotle wants to keep expanding. Its success has been "a lesson in how hard it is to scale the entirety of a business like Chipotle, with its promise to sell 'food with integrity,'" writes Ferdman. Suspending carnitas sales is "exactly the sort of decision Chipotle might not be able to keep making—not if if it wants to serve more burritos to more people, and still include pork as an ingredient."

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