Oh No! Chipotle Might Stop Serving Guacamole Because of Climate Change
Citing "increasing weather volatility" and "other long-term changes in global weather patterns, including any changes associated with global climate change," Chipotle has announced that it may be forced to suspend the sale of guacamole and some of its salsas in the future.
The popular fast-food chain goes through 35.4 million pounds of avocadoes every year, but scientists anticipate that climate change will induce a drier climate that will negatively impact avocado crops. In California alone, where Chipotle buys much of its avocadoes, one study predicts that higher temperatures will cause a 40 percent drop in avocado production.
As extreme weather due to climate change hurts crops, the shortage of avocadoes and hence guac will drive up prices, which Chipotle would then pass on to consumers. ThinkProgress notes that the restaurant's commitment to local and organically sourced ingredients make it more susceptible to the threat of climate change, because the markets from where it buys its food "are generally smaller and more concentrated than the markets for commodity food products." These farmers are not able to weather the effects of climate change without raising their prices, and Chipotle would rather not pay them.
Chipotle also said that if drought conditions in California exacerbated by climate change continue to worsen, that could drive up the prices of other ingredients as well. The restaurant would then be forced to prioritize its primary ingredients over less central ones like guacamole.