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Chipotle Burritos: Stuffed With Integrity

Integrity isn't the first word that comes to mind when you think of burritos. Chipotle is out to change that with a new marketing overhaul, Food with Integrity. Though they won't be tampering with the tasty (and caloric) burrito recipe, they hope to alter the way American think about fast food and fast food advertising.

Chipotle, a former subsidiary of McDonald's (the company went solo in 2006), partnered with San Francisco-based design and strategy firm Sequence to create an informative and somewhat irreverent campaign for its website and product packaging. Just click on the knotted string at the bottom of the screen, and The Chipotle supply chain appears.

"While we have never sourced these ingredients to be a marketing platform, it is what makes Chipotle so different from other restaurant companies" the company’s chief marketing officer Mark Crumpacker said in a release.

The burrito giant uses naturally raised animals, locally grown food and other sustainable ingredients, whenever possible. Their suppliers include pork from Virginia’s Polyface Farms, made famous by the documentary Food, Inc. and journalist Michael Pollan in The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

The new design includes erratic typeface, which tells stories of where burrito ingredients originated. (Did you know the pigs get to sleep in comfortable beds? Genius!) In stores, cups, bags and bowl liners tell tales from suppliers about the roots of the food. Customers can even submit their own stories online for a chance to be featured on the packaging. Even if you didn’t want to know where that chicken came from, you’re going to find out anyway.

Even with wholesome ingredients, the meals are still a caloric mouthful. (One flour tortilla alone has 290 calories!) A basic chicken or steak burrito has 850 calories. Add sour cream and guacamole and you have 1120 calories or more. That’s more than two Big Macs or almost five McDonald's hamburgers.

Chipotle makes sure to note on its nutritional page:

It’s very important to consume only as many calories as is recommended in a day. But it’s also important to try to eat whole foods that are full of the nutrients and micronutrients that really keep your body running. Foods that are unprocessed and un-tampered with (like at Chipotle) are more filling and nutritious than the synthetic foods you might find at other restaurants.

Even so, the company continues to thrive and make the right moves.  The "obsessive chef" and co-CEO Steve Ellis just signed on as an investor and judge the new NBC reality show, "America’s Next Great Restaurant." Contestants, it seems, would do well to listen to Ellis for advice; Chipotle's 1000th store opened in Texas in June.