After news broke that Chipotle would stop serving pork at 1/3 of its restaurants, the estimated 6 to 7 percent of Chipotle customers who order carnitas were spiraling into a state of panic. But Chipotle stuck to its guns, choosing to suspend one of its pork suppliers rather than lower its sustainability standards.
Industry magazine Meat + Poultry reports that within 48 hours, another Chipotle supplier decided to step in and offer its porcine procurement services. Niman Ranch, a company that currently supplies Chipotle with some of its pork and beef, was able to increase its supply of pork to Chipotle by 20 percent, effective immediately.
Anyone who cares about sustainable meat in the U.S. knows the Niman Ranch name. Even though the company may no longer be owned by founder Bill Niman anymore, it still adheres to the ideals that made its reputation in the first place. Now it’s doing good work on a different level: stepping up and shutting #carnitasgate down.
Niman Ranch executive vice president Jeff Tripician told Meat + Poultry,
But that’s not the only way that Niman is helping Chipotle overcome this pig crisis. Besides shipping extra pork to Chipotle, Niman is also working with Chipotle to see if the company can tweak its carnitas recipe to use additional cuts of pork.
Tripician also told Meat + Poultry,
Hopefully, “encouraging [family farmers] to grow more animals” is done in a responsible, sustainable manner.
It’s worth noting that Chipotle didn’t drop the offending supplier that sparked #CarnitasGate entirely. If that supplier starts to comply with Chipotle’s standards, the chain could pick up their pork again in the future.
“We are working with our family farmers on a long-term basis to help encourage them to grow more animals which will result in increased supply in the long run.”