Chipotle Inc. has proposed the unthinkable. In the food chain’s recent annual report, Chipotle states that guacamole might have to be removed from the menu. Citing climate change as the driving factor behind price increases in products like avocados, beef, dairy, and chicken, Chipotle would suspend those items from the menu instead of changing its price structure.
“Weather-related issues, such as freezes or drought, may also lead to temporary spikes in the prices of some ingredients," reads Chipotle’s annual report. "For instance, two years of drought conditions in parts of the U.S. have resulted in significant increases in beef prices during late 2013 and early 2014.” The report then adds, "In the event of cost increases with respect to one or more of our raw ingredients, we may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas."
Chipotle does acknowledge that depriving its loyal followers of the famous guacamole might hurt its brand. Guacamole is a staple at every location of the Mexican grill. The company uses an average of 97,000 pounds of avocado a day, totaling more than 35 million pounds a year.
Chipotle’s commitment to using local produce from within 350 miles of the restaurant where it will be served leaves the company more exposed to climate shifts. That said, California locations might be the first to see the guacamole bowl empty.