“Yes, I know guac is extra.” That slogan, so often emblazoned on a t-shirt, could function as the fast-casual rallying cry of the Chipotle generation. But lately, the only thing extra about the avocados at the chain whose slogan is “food with integrity” is how extra-disappointing they’ve become.
According to Business Insider, who spoke with both Chipotle superfans and employees from a variety of locations, the chain’s avocado offerings don’t seem to have been up to par recently. Twitter has been littered with complaints about avocado quality over the course of the summer, and you don’t need to look far beyond the grayish-green color and the presence of avocado flesh to see that something’s amiss. There’s even an entire Twitter account dedicated to documenting the disappointing avocados.
Behind the scenes, Chipotle employees aren’t oblivious to the shift in quality of their avocados recently. "On the worst days I could literally punch an avocado, which is supposed to be soft and easy to mash, and it wouldn't leave a dent," an anonymous Chipotle employee in Massachusetts told BI. “Most days the avocados were still edible but much harder to work with, essentially doubling my time to make the guac and have a decent end product.
So what’s going on? It all has to do with the seasonality of avocados, and the subsequent shifts in supply that they necessitate. As is probably the case with most restaurant chains, Chipotle gets the bulk of its avocados from Mexico, the world’s leading producer of the trendy stone fruit. The country’s prime growing season stretches from November to April. By the end of the summer, their supply stretches pretty thin. In Chipotle’s case, that means switching its supply to avocados from Peru, a southern hemisphere source where growing capacity peaks in July and August.
Chipotle states that this switch in source and suppliers is likely to blame for the perceived spike in customer complaints. "Due to the seasonal transition from Peruvian to Mexican suppliers that happens every year at this time, we are experiencing normal variabilities in our avocados but we can assure our customers that our guac is still being freshly prepared in our restaurants every day," Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s Chief Communications Officer, said in a statement to Business Insider.
So if you’re a Chipotle freak who hasn’t been fond of their guac recently, just be patient. Things will all turn around soon enough. After all, to expect seasonal produce that’s often shipped hundreds if not thousands of miles from its source to be perfect around is a bit greedy and unrealistic as it is. Maybe save that avocado money until this winter and put a down payment on a house.
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