Is Chipotle Beef Grass Fed? A Full Guide

If you’re a fan of Chipotle’s delicious burritos and bowls, you may have wondered about the quality of the beef used in their dishes.

Specifically, is it grass-fed?

While the chain has made some changes to their beef sourcing in recent years, there is still some confusion and debate around this topic.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Chipotle’s beef and explore whether or not it’s truly grass-fed.

So, grab a seat and get ready to learn more about one of America’s favorite fast-casual restaurants.

Is Chipotle Beef Grass Fed?

The short answer is yes, Chipotle’s beef is grass-fed. However, it’s important to note that this wasn’t always the case.

In 2013, Chipotle was forced to start using conventionally raised beef due to a nationwide drought that decimated the U.S. cattle population. However, the chain quickly realized that this wasn’t in line with their commitment to using high-quality, responsibly sourced ingredients.

In early 2018, Chipotle announced that they were switching to grass-fed beef for their carne asada. This change has been gradually rolled out across the country and is a big win for animal welfare advocates.

But not everyone is happy about the change. Some customers have complained that the new carne asada is less flavorful than the old version and not worth the extra money. And some farmers are worried that the demand for grass-fed beef could lead to overgrazing of grasslands.

Despite these concerns, Chipotle remains committed to using responsibly sourced ingredients and providing customers with high-quality food options.

The History Of Chipotle’s Beef Sourcing

Chipotle has long been a champion of using high-quality, responsibly sourced ingredients in their food. However, the chain was forced to temporarily switch to conventionally raised beef in 2013 due to a nationwide drought that devastated the U.S. cattle population.

In recent years, Chipotle has made a concerted effort to switch back to grass-fed beef. In early 2018, the chain announced that their carne asada would be made with 100% grass-fed beef. However, due to a lack of consistent supply in the U.S., Chipotle has been sourcing their grass-fed beef from Australia.

While this decision has been met with criticism from some Texas ranchers and agriculture officials, Chipotle maintains that their Australian-raised cattle are raised on pastures or range lands by ranchers whose practices align with the chain’s standards for humane animal farming.

Despite the challenges of sourcing grass-fed beef, Chipotle remains committed to using responsibly sourced ingredients and providing customers with high-quality food options. The switch to grass-fed beef is just one example of the chain’s ongoing efforts to prioritize animal welfare and environmental sustainability in their supply chain.

The Benefits Of Grass-Fed Beef

Grass-fed beef offers a number of benefits over conventionally raised beef. For starters, grass-fed beef is leaner and contains less total fat than conventionally raised beef. This makes it a healthier option for those looking to reduce their overall fat intake.

Additionally, grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health and brain function. It also contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fat that has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Grass-fed beef is also free from antibiotics and hormones, which are commonly used in conventionally raised beef to promote growth and prevent disease. By choosing grass-fed beef, consumers can avoid these potentially harmful additives.

Finally, grass-fed beef is more sustainable than conventionally raised beef. Because grass-fed cattle graze on pastureland, they require less energy and resources to produce than cattle raised in feedlots. This means that grass-fed beef has a lower carbon footprint and is better for the environment overall.

Chipotle’s Commitment To Responsibly Sourced Beef

Chipotle has long been a champion of using responsibly sourced ingredients, and their commitment to grass-fed beef is no exception. While the majority of their beef is still made in the United States, the chain has been importing grass-fed beef from Australia due to a lack of consistent supply in the U.S.

According to Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold, there simply isn’t enough grass-fed, antibiotic-free, hormone-free beef in the U.S. to meet the restaurant’s large demand. However, the company hopes that by raising awareness about this issue, more American ranchers will consider adopting grass-fed diets.

Chipotle’s switch to grass-fed beef for their carne asada is a big win for animal welfare advocates. Grass-fed cows spend their entire lives in pastures, eating grass or forages such as hay. This is a more natural diet for cows and results in healthier and more flavorful meat.

Chipotle’s commitment to using responsibly sourced ingredients goes beyond just beef. The chain also uses organic produce whenever possible and has made a commitment to being completely GMO-free. Chickens are raised with more space per bird than conventionally raised chicken in factory farms.

While some customers may be hesitant about the change to grass-fed beef, it’s important to remember that Chipotle’s commitment to using high-quality, responsibly sourced ingredients is what sets them apart from other fast-food chains. Customers can be confident that the steak they order from Chipotle is of high quality and raised with care.

The Reality Of Chipotle’s Beef: Is It Really Grass-Fed?

While Chipotle’s beef is indeed grass-fed, there have been some controversies surrounding the source of their grass-fed beef. In 2019, the chain announced that they would be importing grass-fed beef from Australia, despite American producers lining up to work with the chain. This decision was met with criticism from some American farmers and politicians who argued that Chipotle should be supporting local agriculture.

Chipotle defended their decision by stating that they were looking for true grass-fed beef that is free from hormones and antibiotics, and that Australia is a leader in that field. The company claimed that the meat produced by Australian ranchers meets or exceeds the husbandry standards set forth by the American Grassfed Association and all of the protocols they apply to their domestic Responsibly Raised beef.

While it’s true that Australia has a strong reputation for producing high-quality grass-fed beef, some critics argue that importing beef from halfway around the world goes against Chipotle’s commitment to sustainability and responsible sourcing. They argue that it would be more environmentally friendly and economically beneficial to work with local farmers and support local agriculture.

Despite these criticisms, Chipotle continues to use grass-fed beef in their carne asada and remains committed to using responsibly sourced ingredients. However, the controversy surrounding their decision to import beef from Australia highlights the challenges and complexities of trying to source high-quality ingredients on a large scale while also balancing environmental concerns and supporting local agriculture.

Other Options For Grass-Fed Beef At Chipotle

If you’re looking for other options for grass-fed beef at Chipotle, you’re in luck. While their carne asada is currently the only beef option that is grass-fed, the chain has expressed interest in switching all of their beef to grass-fed in the future.

In the meantime, you can still enjoy other responsibly sourced meat options at Chipotle. Their pork is sourced from Niman Ranch, which has a commitment to raising animals in a humane and sustainable way. And if you’re looking for a plant-based option, their plant-based chorizo is made with no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, or grains.

It’s also worth noting that almost all of the ingredients at Chipotle are grown organically, and the chain does not use artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in their products.

So while grass-fed beef may not be available for all of their beef options just yet, there are still plenty of responsibly sourced and healthy options to choose from at Chipotle.

Final Thoughts: Making Informed Choices About Your Food

When it comes to choosing what to eat, it’s important to be informed about where your food comes from and how it was produced. Chipotle’s decision to switch to grass-fed beef is a step in the right direction for animal welfare and sustainable agriculture practices.

However, it’s also important to note that not all grass-fed beef is created equal. Consumers should look for independent, third-party certifications to ensure that the beef they’re buying comes from a responsibly managed ranch that follows best practices for maintaining soil health and limiting carbon emissions.

Additionally, consumers should be aware of the potential environmental impacts of increased demand for grass-fed beef. Overgrazing can lead to soil erosion and loss of biodiversity, so it’s important to support farmers who prioritize sustainable grazing practices.

Ultimately, making informed choices about what you eat can have a big impact on both your health and the environment. By supporting companies like Chipotle that prioritize responsibly sourced ingredients, consumers can help drive positive change in the food industry.