May 18, 2022

The National Advertising Division finds that certain sustainability claims for Chipotle Mexican Grill are supported; Recommend modification of others

NEW YORK, March 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs has determined that Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. has provided a reasonable basis for the following assertions related to its sustainability practices:

  • A Chipotle burrito “could make our farmers…more organic…less carbon emitters.”
  • “Water Saved: We source from farms with sustainable farming practices that save more water, primarily through reduced gray water.”
  • “Improved Soil Health: Ingredients from farms practicing sustainable agricultural practices, such as planting over crops, can improve soil health.”
  • “We are committed to diverting 50% of waste from landfills by 2020.”

However, NAD recommended that the advertiser change the claim “Reducing Carbon Emissions: From farm to leaf, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by optimizing our supply chain, with respect to ingredients conventional” to specify the parts of its supply chain that have reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

NAD also recommended amending claims related to the advertiser’s Real Foodprint sustainability program to clarify that metrics displayed in Chipotle’s mobile app, email receipts, and account profiles are based on a average durability rating, not on a consumer’s specific purchase.

The claims at issue have been challenged by NAD as part of its routine independent monitoring of truth and transparency in US national advertising.

Real Foodprint Claims

Chipotle runs a sustainability program called Real Foodprint that aims to educate consumers on how each ingredient in their Chipotle meal is more environmentally friendly compared to “conventional” ingredients. For example, after consumers purchase food using Chipotle’s mobile app, they have the ability to see gallons of water saved, grams of carbon removed from the atmosphere, surface area square feet of improved soil health and fewer milligrams of antibiotics used for each ingredient.

NAD has evaluated two major environmental claims related to Real Foodprint, which appear on Chipotle’s website:

  • “With Real Foodprint, you’ll see how real the Chipotle difference really is. From how ingredients are raised, grown and cared for, Chipotle’s impact on real food and the planet starts at the source.”
  • “Foodprint calculates an average sustainability impact for each of our 53 real ingredients based on our key sourcing standards versus conventional ingredients.”

NAD has found that these claims reasonably convey the message that Real Foodprint’s metrics are specific to each customer’s order and show the precise impact reduction for the meal consumed.

In support of its Real Foodprint claims, the advertiser relied on analysis provided by HowGood, a Chipotle-independent third-party SaaS data platform with a food and care product sustainability database. personal. NAD concluded that although the HowGood analysis provided a reasonable basis for the Real Foodprint claims, in some contexts the claims communicate a level of personalization beyond the support provided.

Therefore, NAD recommended that the advertiser amend its Real FoodPrint claims to clarify that metrics displayed in Chipotle’s mobile app, email receipts, and account profiles are based on an average sustainability rating. and not on a consumer’s specific purchase.

Ambitious claim

NAD has determined that one of the messages reasonably conveyed by the claim that a Chipotle burrito “could make our farmers…more organic…less carbon-emitting” is an ambitious, forward-looking message that Chipotle is in fact engaged in genuine efforts towards these goals.

Based on the evidence on the record, NAD concluded that Chipotle had made significant efforts to meet the goals of its suppliers being “more organic” and “lower carbon emitters.” For example, Chipotle makes significant purchases of organic ingredients, which helps strengthen the organic food market as a whole, and has indicated its intention to continue to do so in the future. Additionally, reducing carbon emissions is central to the advertiser’s sustainability efforts, as demonstrated for example by the fact that Chipotle uses a significant portion of the beef it uses from organically fed animals. grass and grass-finished, which reduces carbon emissions compared to animals raised on conventional farms.

NAD has concluded that the advertiser supported these ambitious claims as communicated in the context of the “Can A Burrito Change the World?” TV advertising.

Specific durability claims

NAD has determined that Chipotle provides a reasonable basis for the following claims:

  • “Water Saved: We source from farms with sustainable farming practices that save more water, primarily through reduced gray water.”
  • “Improved Soil Health: Ingredients from farms practicing sustainable agricultural practices, such as planting over crops, can improve soil health.”
  • “We are committed to diverting 50% of waste from landfills by 2020.”

NAD has determined that a reasonable takeaway from the claim “Reducing Carbon Emissions: From farm to leaf, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by optimizing our supply chain, with respect to ingredients conventional” is that Chipotle is reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout its supply chain. . However, the advertiser has provided no evidence of how far conventional ingredients are typically transported, nor has it provided evidence that its cooking processes, for example, have reduced carbon emissions compared to its competitors.

Therefore, NAD concluded that the advertiser did not support the broad message reasonably conveyed and recommended that the “farm to foil” claim be amended to clarify which parts of its supply chain have reduced carbon emissions.

In its advertiser statement, Chipotle said that “while we disagree with certain aspects of NAD’s analysis regarding the messages communicated by our Real Foodprint tool, we support NAD’s self-regulatory process and , therefore, we are committed to implementing the changes to comply with NAD’s recommendations.”

All National BBB Program case decision summaries can be found in the Case Decision Library. For the full text of NAD, NARB and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

About National BBB Programs: National BBB programs are where businesses turn to build consumer confidence and consumers are heard. The nonprofit organization creates a fairer level playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Assuming its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs now oversees more than a dozen national industry self-regulatory programs and continues to evolve its work and increase its impact by providing business advice and promoting best practices in areas such as advertising, marketing to children and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulatory and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the United States. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for truth and accuracy in advertising, providing consumer protections and leveling the playing field for businesses.

SOURCE BBB National Programs