Chipotle strengthens buy-local stance in Pacific Northwest
By Lee van der Voo, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
Chipotle is buying corn chips and tortillas from Salem-based Don Pancho.
Chipotle Mexican Grill’s growing commitment to locally grown ingredients has ramped up purchasing from food suppliers in Oregon and Washington, with benefits for Salem-based Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods Inc.
The growing focus on locally supplied food ingredients at Chipotle stems from its “Food with Integrity” initiative, which founder Steve Ells has used to press the chain’s ingredient quality toward increasingly sustainably grown and naturally raised products since 2001.
The expanded purchasing in the Northwest follows a commitment to serve 10 million pounds of locally grown produce in its restaurants in 2011, doubling the amount of locally grown produce served in Chipotle restaurants in 2010. Other food ingredients are also being sourced locally, including tortilla chips and wraps from Don Pancho.
Chipotle Mexican Grill has 1,100 restaurants nationally, including 13 in Washington and 12 in Oregon. It employs roughly 26,500 people. The food chain has focused its purchasing within 350 miles or nearer of restaurants served.
In Oregon and Washington, Chipotle is purchasing red onion from Curry & Company in Brooks, jalapenos and green pepper from Fewel Farms in Prosser, Wash., oregano from HerbCo International in Duvall, Wash. and tortilla chips and 13-inch round tortillas from Don Pancho in Salem.
Tom Hoffert, national food service account manager with Don Pancho, said the growing relationship with Chipotle has been healthy for the business, which employs 300 people manufacturing tortilla chips and wraps.
“It’s a significant amount of business. We really appreciate their doing business with us and hopefully they appreciate the great quality as well,” he said.
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