Bad news for upscale fast food and avocado lovers: Chipotle may stop offering guacamole and some of its salsas due to the increased cost of the ingredients. Chipotle blamed climate change for what is basically a living nightmare for us all.
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. Any increase in the prices of the ingredients most critical to our menu, such as chicken, beef, cheese, avocados, beans, rice, tomatoes and pork, would adversely affect our operating results. Alternatively, 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.
The report does not say why Chipotle doesn't just charge extra for its guacamole (which it has done in the past), but does say the change could "have an adverse impact on our brand."
Of course, this is just part of Chipotle's risk disclaimer that you'll find in any public business' annual report, and Chipotle also lists increased labor costs (especially due to the ACA employer mandate), competition and food-borne illnesses as possible threats to its livelihood. But the fact that Chipotle prides itself on using local ingredients in its food and that the drought-ridden state of California has the most Chipotle locations certainly won't help anything. And there is precedent: McDonald's had to increase the price of some of its dollar menu items because of the climate change-caused drought last year.
In January, there was an avocado shortage due to below average temperatures (which, yes, can also be caused by climate change) that threatened to ruin everyone's Super Bowl guacamole plans. We can't let this happen again.