Several restaurants have announced or have already incorporated meat alternatives on their menus, but while the concept behind these products may align with some of its principles, Chipotle Mexican Grill said it does not plan to join the growing trend as of right now.
Chipotle chief executive officer Brian Niccol recently expressed that Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods’ products are too processed to meet its standards.
“We have spoken to those folks, and unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit in our ‘food with integrity’ principles because of the processing, as I understand it, that it takes to make a plant taste like a burger,” Niccol told Yahoo Finance. “If there’s a way for them to do this that would match our ‘food with integrity’ principles, I’m sure we would continue talking with them.”
Niccol also said Chipotle is currently conducting all of its own new product development.
Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown responded to the Chipotle leader’s comments and invited him to visit the company’s Columbia, Mo., facility. He also suggested that meat producers are worse.
“You can come to our facility anytime,” Brown said in the interview. “Don’t call me; just knock on the door. I invite you to do the same with all of Chipotle’s meat processing facilities. They won’t let you, and if they did, you wouldn’t want to see it.
“We are about transparency,” he added.
To achieve the taste, texture and quality consumers expect from a product mimicking beef, both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods had to use several ingredients. While the products have been well received, this has not been the case for consumers and companies who scrutinize ingredient lists (shown below).