Check out Chipotle's brilliant, haunting ad
The new spot and its accompanying gaming app emphasize the chain's choices of organic and sustainable ingredients.
For years, Chipotle has marketed its gourmet burritos and tacos as food with integrity, emphasizing that it supports family farmers and the animals in their care. That stance is certainly admirable, and it's one of the reasons for Chipotle's phenomenal success.
As Slate noted, the chain has also avoided advertising on television, which has only enhanced the prestige of its brand. "Scarecrow," which features Fiona Apple's haunting rendition of "Pure Imagination," is sure to win a Clio award, which is the advertising industry's answer to the Oscars.
The ad campaign also includes a Chipotle app, downloadable for free at the iTunes store, with which players "help the Scarecrow rescue the City of Plenty from Crow Foods, the powerful industrial food corporation that has taken over the city."
The reality about how food is produced in the U.S., however, is more complicated than the sad Chipotle scarecrow would have us believe.
For instance, As WebMD notes, there is no clear evidence that organic fruits and vegetables are any more tasty or nutritious than conventional ones. Also, organic farming is less efficient and requires far more land to produce the same amount of food. That creates its own environmental problems.
Modern high-yield farming has saved 15 million square miles of wildlife habitat, the site notes, citing research from Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues. "If the world switched to organic farming, we'd need to cut down 10 million square miles of forest," WebMD adds.
Organic food can be more expensive than conventional food because, among other reasons, farmers who use these practices don't receive federal subsidies. However, that's not always the case. Organic.org notes that some organic products, such as coffee, cereal and bread, may cost as much as or less than their conventional counterparts.
The Chipotle scarecrow's message about the evils of factory farming is worth discussing, but consumers need to resist the temptation to reduce the issue to a question of good guys and bad guys.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
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Wow MSN - way to plug for Big Agriculture. Just like Congress, I'm sure your (GMO) bread is butterred by the chemical crap that feeds America.
To my fellow Americans - eat real food. Watch the movie "Food Inc". I'm on the Paleo/Primal diet and I avoid processed junk like the plague, and I feel great.
Organic food may not taste better, to some, nor be more nutritious, but it also doesn't contain herbicides and pesticides. No poisons going into our bodies.
I think organice farmers should receive the same subsidies that other farmers receive.
All veggies, meat and fish are good, without all the chemical. Our bodies are not made to process chemicals! That’s the bottom line. This is why so many people are sick today. Read a label on your bag, box or package of food and see what your eating, if you can pronounce it or even figure out what is. When I was young I never knew of any kid with ADD or Type 2 diabetes. Recently I have lost 2 friends to brain tumors and know of 2 others with the same. If you want to eat whatever the FDA approves have at it and good luck with that.
The Human body wasn't design to intake chemicals over time. An the cost of that is far more trips to the doctor, especially when you get older. That cost alone make's it worth any additional cost it takes for everyone to grow Organics.
We are simply repeating the same arrogance and mistakes of the past, but on a far bigger scale. The cost could be the existence of humanity itself. Mother Nature will win in the end. Earth was doing fine before Humans and it will certainly be doing fine after them.
Diet, health and health care go hand in hand in my judgment. If we take the long view and analyze how different cultures throughout the world produce and consume food we can come to that conclusion quite easily really. There is no question there is a direct link to the types of food consumed and the overall health of the person consuming it. If you look at what is spent on food and health care the numbers become even more astonishing. So basically what I'm saying is that the less healthy you eat and live, the more you'll be spending on health care overall or if you don't have health care, the more you'll cost everyone else.
I see no reason why food can't be viewed not only as a way to sustain yourself but as a form of preventative care as well. I'm not going to endorse any particular diet here but if common sense is used and you eat a diet that is body friendly and natural, along with moderate exercise and minimal stresses to your mind and spirit, the total cost for food and health care in your life will be far less. This also assumes the are no predispositions to hereditary conditions though I'm not sure that automatically means you'll get certain conditions if preventative measures are taken. Then again if you have the longevity gene you might be able to fudge a little, but why take chances.
There's no question in my mind that the combination of the way we produce foods in the US, the marketing of, the numerous psychological reasons for over consuming and our highly stressful lifestyle in general, not to mention lack of reasonable amounts of exercise and the big pharma drugs we are prescribed are not helping.
So what does organic mean? It means that these pesticides, if used, must be derived from natural sources, not synthetically manufactured. Also, these pesticides must be applied using equipment that has not been used to apply any synthetic materials for the past three years, and the land being planted cannot have been treated with synthetic materials for that period either.
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