Chipotle Targets Big Food, Skips Big Branding

“We’re trying to educate people about where their food comes from,” says Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing officer at Chipotle. But, he says, Millennials “are skeptical of brands that perpetuate themselves.” Both the game and film depict a scarecrow’s journey to bring wholesome food back to the people by providing an alternative to the processed food that dominates his world. The film is set in a spooky, fantasy world where all food production is controlled by fictional industrial food giant Crow Foods, run by evil crows. “The crows control the scarecrows,” says Crumpacker. “It’s a parallel of the industrial food system in the U.S., which is upside down.” The Crow Foods factory is staffed by scarecrows who have been displaced from their traditional jobs on the farm and are now relegated to working for the crows by helping them maintain their unsustainable processed food system. The game and the film were created with Academy Award-winning Moonbot Studios. Chipotle will be giving away up to 1 million buy-one-get-one offers to consumers who successfully play the game. The great irony: McDonald’s once held a majority ownership stake in Chipotle which it divested in 2006. So Chipotle has certainly seen Mickey D’s which might seem to be one of the unnamed targets of this video up close and personal. But will the video and game be a hit with Millennials? Two marketing gurus have mixed minds. “Chipotle’s marketing strategy makes sense because the ecosystem of advertising has fundamentally changed,” says brand consultant David Vinjamuri. “Chipotle is relying on social messengers to connect the message to the brand.” But will that sell more burritos? One marketing professor has his doubts.

Creating an oasis in a Southern ‘food desert’

Healthy food is a basic human right,” she said. “I decided to rip up my whole backyard and make it all a garden, and it just kind of snowballed from there.” If you don’t live in an affluent part of the city … your easiest options are the dollar menu or the convenience store. CNN Hero Robin Emmons Today, Emmons has 200 volunteers helping her tend 9 acres of crops on three sites. Since 2008, she says, her nonprofit, Sow Much Good , has grown more than 26,000 pounds of fresh produce for underserved communities in Charlotte. At first, Emmons donated her locally grown, chemical-free fruits and vegetables to churches and food pantries. But she soon started selling them herself in the neighborhoods that need them the most, for what she estimates is about half the price of organic produce sold in stores. With her 1,000-kilowatt smile and boundless energy, some might call Emmons a goodwill ambassador for healthy eating. She’d claim that her produce — from cucumbers and okra to watermelon and blueberries — can sell itself, but her enthusiasm certainly doesn’t hurt. “Everyone’s been excited about the string beans,” she says to one customer. “How are you going make yours?” She strives to make her food as affordable as possible.

Food co-ops growing around country

in existing co-ops as well as the emergence of new ones in recent years. Precise statistics are hard to come by, Reid said, because there is no defined tracking system and because of varying state incorporation guidelines. Plus, there are several co-ops that operate on a limited basis with limited products. But based on information he has been able to collect, there are about 330 fully functioning food co-ops in the country, including 68 that started up in the last eight years. The Food Co-op Initiative also is working with 130 groups starting up new food co-ops, including about 10 in Illinois. There are at least six in the state, Reid said. Sharon Hoyer, general manager of The Dill Pickle, a co-op in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, said business has been so good, the co-op is looking for a new location to expand. “It’s been a great whirlwind,” she said. “In the last four years membership has grown from 500 to 1,300 members. New members are signing up all the time.” The co-op ( has established relationships with about 15 “local” farmers, meaning they are within four hours from the co-op, and some “regional” farms, those within an eight-hour drive. Food co-ops are typically owned by members who invest, shop and sometimes work in them.