When companies give customers what they want, the customers respond. Chipotle restaurants, now the biggest Mexican-style casual food chain in the U.S., announced last year that it would be raising its prices because of its switch to all non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) in its offerings.
The following day, its stock prices rose substantially. Now that the plan has been put into place and virtually all of its food is prepared without GMO, its earnings and corresponding stock prices have increased in the second quarter of 2014 by 41 cents per share higher than projected.
A Resounding ¡”SI”!
Chipotle began as a subsidiary of McDonald’s and opened in a Dolly Madison ice cream shop in 1993. Its decision to go non-GMO is unusual in the volume food industry but its leaders recognized that the casual food public is looking for options.
People in the United States are becoming more aware of what goes into their food. They are realizing the dangers of GMO and want to avoid them while still enjoying a meal out. Boasting “Food with Integrity”, Chipotle promises sustainably-raised food coming from family farmers whenever possible. They source local and organic produce when it’s feasible and endeavor to treat distributors, employees, and customers with respect.
The tortillas at Chipotle aren’t completely free of GMO but the company is planning on transitioning by the end of this year so it can boast a completely GMO-free menu.
Consumers are Starting to Pay Attention.
With the opening of almost two hundred new stores in 2013 and around the same number planned for the next year, not only have Chipotle’s patrons proven their loyalty but many new customers have been attracted–not by the stock price but by the food.
With most of the corn, soy, and canola in the U.S. coming from GMO stock and the prevalence of synthetic pesticide, herbicide, fertilizer use in farming, food has become less real somehow. Many countries around the world ban GMO yet Big Ag in the U.S. seems to have a stranglehold on food production and are driven by forces other than healthy nourishment.
Give Customers What They Want.
It is becoming apparent that if the food-eating public (hey, that’s us!) wants change, it will be driven through the mode the manufacturers understand: money.
It seems unlikely that fast food will become extinct any time soon, with people in the Western world reverting to traditional food and eating habits. Chipotle has capitalized on its stability as a market leader to bring better quality food, raising the bar. Other restaurants have taken a cue and are beginning to revolutionize fast food.
LYFE Kitchen currently runs a modest ten restaurants sprinkled in California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and Texas but are planning a large expansion to two hundred-fifty outlets nationwide. Management there, too, has taken to heart the public’s desire for healthier food that is both affordable and sustainably sourced. The restaurants’ success is proof that people are willing to pay a little more for quality and knowing exactly what they’re eating.
It’s encouraging that conscientiousness and care are rewarded. Every like change to the nature of our food is a step forward to better health, a better earth, and a larger profit margin.