DENVER - (BUSINESS WIRE)- February 8, 2016 - Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) announced today at its national employee meeting the formation of the Chipotle Local Grower Support Initiative, a new program to help smaller, local suppliers meet its heightened food safety standards. Supporting local farmers has been an important part of the company's commitment to Food With Integrity, and Chipotle plans to commit up to $10 million to help local farms meet its food safety standards and to make more local ingredients available across the country.
"We have supported local farms around the country for a number of years because we believe it is the right thing to do," said Steve Ells, Chipotle founder, co-CEO, and chairman. "We recognize that it may make it difficult for some local farms to comply with our heightened standards, but we are looking to help local farmers comply with our standards and to continue our support for local farms and rural communities around the country."
The initiative will provide the support and education necessary to meet the company's high standards and help offset the costs of enhanced testing and food safety practices for some smaller farmers. Additionally, financial assistance will be provided in the form of grants or premiums to help cover the higher costs of enhanced food safety practices. The company will also look to develop new partnerships and seek out farmers using greenhouses and other technologies around the country that meet Chipotle's food safety standards.
For more information about the Chipotle Local Grower Initiative and the company's commitment to food safety, visit Chipotle.com/localgrowersupport.
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast-food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that -- where possible -- are sustainably grown and raised responsibly with respect for the animals, the land and the farmers who produce the food. In order to achieve this vision, we focus on building a special people culture that is centered on creating teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards. This people culture not only leads to a better dining experience for our customers, it also allows us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and operates more than 2,000 restaurants, including 18 Chipotle restaurants outside the U.S. and 13 ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants, and is an investor in an entity that owns and operates three Pizzeria Locale restaurants. For more information, visit Chipotle.com.