Chipotle Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO Steve Ells’ thoughtful and thought-provoking op-ed in the Huffington Post, “Conventional vs. Grassfed Beef” earlier this summer raised a lot of eyebrows in the beef and foodservice industries, in large part because of the source. Ells’ Chipotle is a brand known for its “food with integrity” mission and emphasis on sustainable food sourcing. As such, many were surprised to see a public declaration that the iconic burrito brand was sourcing most of its grass-fed “Responsibly Raised” beef all the way from Australia.
Ells’ point is that quality and the way beef is raised – on grass, humanely, without added hormones or antibiotics – is more relevant and important than geographic origin. With so much emphasis placed on local when it comes to sustainability, it marked a new way to consider a responsible choice. We hope to add to the conversation in the coming months, with the pending release of a study of the total environmental impact of meats from Australia.