Back To The Start

by Jenn (eating bender) on February 13, 2012

Why so blue?

I had no idea what I would choose for today’s #FebPhotoADay – blue – but I was in the train station waiting for my El to arrive when I looked up and found my answer. The blue line + an old school El sign = the perfect solution to my current “vintage” photo obsession.

And there you have it.

Another thing that made me smile today: the new “Back to the Start” ad from Chipotle.

I think my friend and fellow blogger Danielle said it best:

It’s amazing that something so short and seemingly simple captures the essence of their brand so perfectly. I’m proud to, as they say, “guac the walk,” by dining there, knowing I’m supporting local farms and the slow but steady change – I’m optimistic; change is coming – in our food culture.

I know Mama Bender is excited, Bobby loves his football-in-your-stomach burritos all the more – and my appreciation for salad bowls topped with massive amounts of the green stuff went up a few notches.

So what do you think? Is the ad legitimate? How do you feel about Chipotle and the image they portray?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


1 Erica February 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I dunno, but I love Chipotle guacamole and will take any reason to eat more of it 😉 We’re finally getting TWO chipotles in Charleston!

2 Jenn (eating bender) February 14, 2012 at 7:11 am

That’s fantastic news! :)

3 BroccoliHut February 13, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Love this ad! I am going to share it with one of my nutrition classes in which we have been talking about the meat industry. Thanks for sharing!!

4 Jenn (eating bender) February 14, 2012 at 7:12 am

Awesome! Glad this post could inspire content for one of your classes! :)

5 Karla February 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm

So neat! I bet the ROI for this ad is well worth it for Chipotle since it seems like it struck a chord with a lot of people. Thanks for sharing this and for hosting a great discussion, Jenn :)

6 Jenn (eating bender) February 14, 2012 at 7:12 am

Agreed – and while I know their is plenty of controversy surrounding their brand, I think the education piece – even if the company isn’t perfect yet – is huge. Thanks, Karla!

7 Emma February 14, 2012 at 6:23 am

Yes, Chipotle is much better enviornmentally and in supporting other sustainable agriculture initiatives. HOWEVER – you still realize they were once owned by McDonalds, right? McDonalds being the largest buyer of beef in the U.S. Additionally, Chipotle’s burritos have more fat and calories in them than McDonads Big Mac (really, look it up). Finally, if you look on Chipotle’s website, you’ll notice that there are no statistics on how much of their meat is organic or natural, or how many of their restaurants buy from local farmers; they only say that they do it when economically advantageous (and when they do it is something minimal like herbs), and their initiatives have not been updated regarding goal dates of 2010 (2 years ago). Shouldn’t we all be buying organic and local when economically advantageous? Saying you do it because you buy burritos from Chipotle is not convincing, as you may not even be supporting local or organic in the end (very few of their stores enforce this). Finally, the FDA already regulates the use of added hormones in poultry and dairy products, so they’re really not making many strides on that front. I wasn’t going to comment on this to Chipotle since they are so large it wouldn’t make a difference. But their marketing strategy of providing unknowing consumers with a cute cartoon and Willie Nelson making folksy ties to a (much better) Colplay song is laughable. At least to consumers who are actually educated on the topic.

8 Jenn (eating bender) February 14, 2012 at 7:10 am

You make some fantastic points, Emma. Please know first of all that I am not an “uneducated consumer” on this topic. Growing up with a brother who has autism, I can assure you that dietary issues – particularly when related to antibiotics and hormones – played a prominent role in our household. I read “Milk – The Deadly Poison” when I was in middle school, and though we were not always so aware/proactive with regard to meat and poultry, my family has recently gone nearly 100% grass-fed, organic, GMO free, etc. I admittedly can’t say the same for myself and my husband, but we do our best with what’s within our budget – and I know, there is something to be said for paying more now to avoid negative health effects later – and hope to someday be able to say we buy organic and local, period. I by no way meant to suggest that I think I do this by buying burritos. :)

I do know that Chipotle was once owned by McDonald’s. I do know that there are more calories in a burrito than a Big Mac. And I agree that my original blog post should have mentioned both of these points because I know that while my husband can enjoy one every once in awhile, knowing that they are calorie bombs, some consumers may not make such a distinction and assume that because the ad promotes sustainability, that somehow means everything on the menu is “healthy.”

I also understand that their website jargon makes it easy for them to find loopholes. I do know that they always use dairy without hormones, but you are right to assume that by saying they buy organic and local meat/produce when “practical,” it’s very possible that practical is few and far between.

However: I resonate with the ad because I am the ad. I can’t stand the fact that the FDA regulates the use of added hormones and antibiotics in the food we eat. I can’t stand the fact that Monsanto creates GMO corn that causes organ failure (, among the many other horrendous things that company does. And I hope very much that one day we will go “back to the start.” But until that day comes or I can afford to spend all my grocery dollars at Whole Foods, I am no better than Chipotle because I don’t fully practice what I preach. And whether or not their PR team actually believes in the message they promote – the optimist in me hopes they do – it appears to me that they are at least fighting to one day make all of this an “economically advantageous” reality. Certainly they are already advocates for the social advantage of food with integrity, and there is something to be said for that, as well.

Sure, the ad was cutesy with its cartoon and Willie Nelson. We have a long way to go and they are not perfect. But it was a start.

(And I like the Coldplay version much better, too.)

Thanks again for sharing your input.

9 Brandi February 14, 2012 at 7:14 am

i hadn’t seen that ad before – thanks for posting it!

i know i will probably never be completely happy with a company – they’re all out to be successful, regardless, but I do like that Chipotle makes an effort to buy locally and organic whenever possible. it’s definitely a move in the right direction.

ps: you’ve been tagged!

and did you get my email?

10 Jenn (eating bender) February 14, 2012 at 7:19 am

I completely agree with you – they are not perfect, but the education piece is huge for me. Hopefully one day all food companies will be making a similar shift. Chipotle is still in the transition process because they are not 100%, but it’s, as they say, a start. 😉

Thanks for tagging me, Brandi! I actually did the 11 questions a couple of days ago but am truly excited to read your answers, too! And I did get your email – thank you so much! I apologize that I haven’t responded yet but will do so now. So much to say!

11 Danielle February 14, 2012 at 8:35 am

I couldn’t love this post more! Thank you for sharing the video, too. I’ve obviously seen it already, but now I can watch it at my leisure 😉 hope you’re having a happy Valentine’s Day, darling!

12 Mattie @ Comfy and Confident February 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I loved that ad. It made me so happy and it made me want to go to Chipotle and eat! I think they do a fabulous job getting the messaging across and the song couldn’t be more perfect.

Very Cool! Thanks for sharing.

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