Chipotle’s Clever Real Food Marketing Campaign

Chipotle is continuing its marketing efforts to position itself as THE premiere real food option when eating…well, fast food. The 1400 strong chain prides itself on “Food with Integrity” and earlier this year committed to sourcing as much non-genetically modified ingredients as it can.

It’s no surprise to see the following cartoon video (and iPhone app) coming from the company. The hero, a scarecrow, works at an industrial food-processing factory until he sees the light and starts his own business with fresh foods grown in his tiny farm. The video is well made, as is the iPhone/iPad app.

Good work Chipotle! Your chain is probably considered by consumers to be the leader in clean food outside the home.


The leading product at Chipotle is the burrito, and at around 900-1200 calories per burrito is quite a hefty meal. This calorie count is before adding chips and drinks. Even if the calories are the purest in the world, they still add up.

Our recommendation: When going to Chipotle, take a friend with you and split a meal.

  • Homer J

    Hey, be nice to Chipotle! I saw the headline and figured you had caught them in lies about their food. But if people think they can eat chips and soft drinks with healthy food then they are mistaken.

    We love Chipotle and often eat half a burrito and save the rest as leftovers.

    • Jess

      Couldn’t agree more! The title is so misleading!

    • Fooducate

      We are very nice to Chipotle!

  • sommer

    1,200 calories!? No, you still have to eat responsibly. With brown rice, black beans, lots of salsas and guac, my bowl is 600 calories tops.

  • Grains of Wellness

    We hope they’ll switch to Non-GM rice soon enough – both their brown and white rice is GM as per their ingredient statement here:

    • Pamela Volentine

      where does it say that? there is no GMO rice approved in the US currently. i thought.

      • Grains of Wellness

        I think I misread the ingredient list – it’s Soybean Bean oil that’s GM and not rice – will update the comment.

  • MasterRen

    I recommend people get the burrito bowl instead of the regular burrito. That way, you don’t have to eat the tortilla (290 calories!) and you’ll have a container to save half of the food for later.

    • JohnnyReason

      I get your logic, but when I see so many people in Chipotle opting for burrito bowls, I shudder when I think about the waste generated versus a foil-wrapped burrito: There’s the plastic fork, paper container, etc.

  • Bill

    It’s an excellent video. I hope lots of folks see it and follow the path of the scarecrow. But there’s no good reason to buy food from Chipolte or any other fast food joint.

  • Jess

    I like your site but wish you’d tone it down with all the negativity. It’s one thing to create awareness (a good thing), but a totally different thing to use scare tactics to draw readers in (what this article’s title does). What if you were to offer suggestions (aside from “split a burrito with a friend”)? Chipotle offers a lot of options… burrito bowls, salads, etc. You can customize your order as vegetarian, get brown rice instead of white, and obviously go crazy with veggies and opt for smaller portions of the higher calorie options. You guys have a prime opportunity to equally promote companies that do GOOD things in the food industry, but you instead choose to focus much more on how evil everyone is. It’s exasperating!

    • Jess

      And one last thing… Chipotle is a great example of a company that is working hard to do something good for casual dining/fast food. Maybe you should be painting them in a positive light and warn people on the side that they still have a lot of high calorie options you should be aware of. Isn’t it a good thing that they’re using REAL, fresh food? It’s so uncommon in the food industry and they’re cutting edge in that respect. SO frustrated with this article.

      • ThunderHammer

        REAL, fresh food? I *love* Chipotle, but I think you’ve been exposed to too much Chipotle marketing. Here’s the ingredients to the flour tortilla, which I would guesstimate at least 75% of customers receive as part of their order: Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (enriched with Folic Acid, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Riboflavin, and Thiamine Mononitrate), Water, White Whole Wheat Flour, Soybean Oil , Hydrogenated Soybean Oil , Wheat Bran, Salt, Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Corn Starch , Monocalcium Phosphate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Fumaric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite , Calcium Propionate , Sorbic Acid.

        Unfortunately, when it comes to healthy eating there are a lot of competing causes. There’s the health-nuts, the anti-gmo loonies, the locavores, the animal-welfare types, the fair-trade hippies, and maybe a few I’ve forgotten about. Chipotle tries to appeal the animal-welfare and fair-trade types, with a dash of locavore – mostly they’re just going after a feel-good anti-corporate image. Fooducate is for health-nuts and anti-gmo types. I don’t see much common-cause.

      • Fooducate

        Hey Jess, don’t get frustrated. We’re also happy with what Chipotle is doing, and commended them in the blog post. But the fact that their burrito is a calorie bomb should not be overlooked.
        If anything, we consumers should be frustrated that Chipotle doesn’t offer half a burrito as a standard menu item.

  • ThunderHammer

    I was devastated to learn recently that the chipotle flour tortilla has hydrogenated soybean oil –

    • Go

      thanks for sharing…didnt know that as well…sheesh…well their soft corn does not have soybean oil. I eat at Chipotle twice a year if that. And on the topic of soybean oil, it is everything. i just noticed on my non-GMO or organic wheat bread, they use soybean oi!. I was trying to avoid processed soy, I love bread…eat almost every day, will have to find a different brand. Keep getting conflicting info about oils…safflower, sunflower, wahhh

  • Dave

    More shocking than the calories is the amount of sodium in Chipotle’s offerings. A chicken burrito with black beans, brown rice and salsa has a whopping 1900 mg of sodium! Not to mention hydrogenated oil in the tortilla. Beware of their marketing gimmickry. This is not a health food chain.

  • Go

    yes, thank goodness for Chipotle..yes, their burritos (beans,rice,salsa) are large, so I dont eat the whole thing…eat it with some fresh cut up fruit or veggies to compliment it. I agree with most, my fast food is either Chipotle or Panaera. In the mid-west Panera and Chipotle have made their way among most interstate highways

  • Esra Caglayan

    Seriously why would you eat it with a flour tortilla??? Corn tortilla all the way. And that’s IF you go the route of the Burrito. Which I do not. I opt for the burrito bowl with brown rice. Once in a great while I might get a side of two small corn tortillas with it.

  • Ladybug

    Or don’t eat the burrito’s and get a bowl and share it. That is what my 3 children and myself do when we eat there. We do splurge and get chips and guac nonetheless no shells here! I am encouraged they found no dirt on Chipotle!