Post by Maria Godoy, The Salt at NPR Food (3/5/2014)
Looks like reports of a looming “guacapocalypse” have been vastly overstated.
This morning, guacamole lovers woke to headlines warning that Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle could eventually be forced to drop the dip from its menu, if changing global weather patterns continue to drive volatility in the price of avocados.
The warning was contained in an annual report that Chipotle filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month.
“Increasing weather volatility or other long-term changes in global weather patterns, including any changes associated with global climate change, could have a significant impact on the price or availability of some of our ingredients,” the company said in the filing.
Then came this sentence that could squash a guac lover’s heart:
“In the event of cost increases with respect to one or more of our raw ingredients, we may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas, rather than paying the increased cost for the ingredients.”
But there’s no reason for Chipotle fans to panic, says company spokesman Chris Arnold. He tells us that the warning included in the SEC filing is just a routine disclosure of risk factors that could impact business.
“There is no looming ‘guacapocalypse’ and I wouldn’t read too much into this,” Arnold tells The Salt in an email.
And weather-related price volatility is just part of doing business when a company relies on fresh ingredients, he notes. For the record, Chipotle goes through about 97,000 pounds of avocados per day, according to its website.
“With regard to avocados, we saw similar issues in 2011 and incurred higher prices for the avocados we used, but never stopped serving guacamole,” he says.
“The sky is not falling.”
Update: In case you are wondering, there is currently no shortage of Hass avocados (the kind used to make guacamole) in the U.S., according to the Hass Avocado Board. In fact, 2014’s volume is projected to be higher than last year’s, Emiliano Escobedo, the board’s executive director, tells The Salt via email.
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