Is Chipotle’s Anti-GMO Stance Resulting In Profits?

Chipotle is about to launch "Farmed & Dangerous," a 4-part satirical look at industrial farming, on Hulu.

Chipotle is about to launch “Farmed & Dangerous,” a 4-part satirical look at industrial farming, on Hulu.

Last year, gut-busting burrito chain Chipotle quietly became the first restaurant of its type to begin identifying which of its ingredients may contain genetically modified ingredients, while also publicly stating that its long-term goal is to eliminate GMO ingredients from its menu. This can be a costly move in a business with relatively thin margins, but it may be working in Chipotle’s favor.

BusinessWeek takes a look at the Colorado-based chain’s sales since it made its anti-GMO stance known to the public.

Chipotle recently reported a 30% increase in quarterly profits and sales at stores open more than a year were up 9.3%. In the last quarter of 2013, stores were averaging an additional $622/day over the same time period in 2012.

“The most obvious difference in the company’s approach was its vow in March to eliminate genetically engineered ingredients,” writes BusinessWeek’s Kyle Stock.

The eatery chain also has a position against the unnecessary non-medical use of antibiotics in farm animals, though last August it did leave open the door to buying some beef from antibiotic-treated cows, claiming there may not be enough drug-free beef to go around.

Chipotle sees its position on these matters as good for marketing and will soon launch a four-part satirical look at industrial farming called “Farmed & Dangerous” on Hulu. The trailer for the series is below.

“That’s why we create marketing designed to make people more curious about these issues,” Co-CEO Steve Ells explained in a conference call about earnings on Thursday. “We believe the more curious they become and the more they learn, the more likely they’ll come to Chipotle.”

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