On Monday, April 27, Chipotle announced that they are “G-M-Over it” and cut out ingredients that were made with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Chipotle’s explains how GMO crops corn and soy are no longer used in their tortilla recipe. The two ingredients have been replaced with non-GMO alternatives such as rice bran oil and sunflower, which align with Chipotle’s “food with integrity” motto. Convinced?
Some critics are not. Though Chipotle has been a strong advocate for selling food using only the freshest ingredients, many believe that the “G-M-Over it” is just a greenwashing PR tactic. Greenwashing, or green marketing, is used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims, or policies are environmentally friendly. Announcing GMO-free ingredients turned many people off. Here is why:
Attempt to attract millennials
The millennial generation as a whole is beginning to see the importance of sustainable businesses practices that go into making products. They are becoming increasingly aware of what is being put into their food and where their food is coming from. Many millennials steer away from GMO-made products, partially because GMOs are misunderstood. Experts say the GMO-containing foods being grown in the States are no riskier than conventional foods. Currently, all GMO applications are safe according to Gregory Jaffe, director of biotechnology at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Not 100% G-M-Over it
Towards the end of the announcement, Chipotle states that while their tortillas and cooking oil are 100% GMO-free, their sodas and meat still contain traces of GMOs. Sodas contain corn syrup, which always has some type of genetic modification. The feed that animals eat usually includes corn and genetically modified grain. Clearly Chipotle is not G-M-Over it if they continue to sell sodas and meat from animals that consume feed. Perhaps Chipotle should have titled the announcement “G-M-Ostly Over It” for accuracy.
Uh, hello? Chipotle is still unhealthy fast food
Using GMO-free cooking oil and tortillas does not make Chipotle any healthier for consumers. At the end of the day, a burrito is a burrito. A survey conducted by the New York Times revealed the typical meal consumed at Chipotle contains close to a full day’s sodium intake and 1,070 calories.
Jaffe exclaims, “If (Chipotle) really wanted to improve people’s health, they should worry a lot more about the salt and fat in their burritos than a little bit of soybean oil and a little cornmeal.”
Personally, this controversy will not steer me away from Chipotle anytime soon (Pile on the guac! Yes, I know it is extra). However, it does make you think about what the food industry determines as a priority for its consumers. What do you think? Was this just another greenwashing technique or do you feel that the GMO-free announcement increases credibility among environmentally conscious Chipotle fans?