The restaurant chain Chipotle has received a great deal of attention since it released its animated ad campaign featuring Scarecrow, a fictional food factory worker turned farmer and food provider. New Yorker blogger Elizabeth Weiss posted this article in September 2013.
- Weiss presents quite a few points of view as well as evidence from a variety of sources. How well does she synthesize all of the material? Explain your reasoning. Which evidence from her article impressed you the most? Why?
- Weiss cites food writer Michael Pollan’s response to Chipotle’s new campaign. Pollan is encouraged by the idea that people are more interested and will make decisions based on information about where their meat comes from and how it was raised and processed. How interested are you in that information? Do you take such information into account when you shop? When you eat at restaurants? Why or why not?
- Weiss points out that one challenge to improving fast food meat quality is that even if chains like McDonald’s wanted to adopt Chipotle’s sourcing standards, “the market couldn’t begin to meet its demand.” There aren’t enough farms using sustainable agriculture practices to supply the close to one billion pounds of beef McDonald’s uses each year. What do you think would happen if McDonald’s did initiate a program to use more sustainably sourced and less chemically-treated meats? Would you favor such an effort on McDonald’s part? Why or why not?
- As Weiss notes, Chipotle does a much better job than other fast food companies when it comes to procuring healthier and more sustainable meats as well as providing more source information to customers. Still, the ad campaign has been criticized because it “elides Chipotle’s real-life meat sourcing with the aesthetics of a vegetable harvest.” Where do you stand? Is Chipotle more deserving of praise or criticism? Write an essay in which you address that question, taking Weiss and the sources she cites as your They Say. You may also want to cite the Chipotle Scarecrow video (a link is in the article); use screen shots accompanied by written descriptions.