What’s in That Hamburger?

What’s in That Hamburger?


US brand Chipotle has long been the champion of ethical and healthy eating: Chipotle raised the price of its pork products by a dollar in order to accommodate higher welfare pork, and back in late 2013 the brand released a provocative ad campaign and interactive game called ‘The Scarecrow’ campaigning against mass produced, industrialised food. The animation alone garnered over 14 million hits on YouTube.

So now they’re at it again, maintaining their mandate of ‘food with integrity’ by drawing consumers’ attention to the growing trend of fast-food brands removing artificial ingredients from their menu items through an educational and interactive quiz game that can land you a Chipotle voucher for you and a friend for a year (that’s a lot — one kid at Chipotle for 150 days in a row racked up a bill of R15 000).

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How much do you really know?

The Friend or Faux campaign ran over the months of July and August, but you can still play today. The game encourages you to compare Chipotle Mexican grill menu items with other popular fast food items to find out how many artificial ingredients are in most popular processed foods. It’s simultaneously educational and horrifying.

For example, in the Chipotle Chicken Burrito there are 25 ‘friendly’ ingredients and 11 ‘faux’ ingredients. Some are listed ‘faux’ because they’re processed, like wheat germ, while others are obviously synthetic additives like sodium acid pyrophosphate.

Each ingredient is clickable, revealing more information about its composition and purpose in food preparation and manufacture. Compare that to its fast-food counterpart of, say, a typical beef burger with cheese, there are 23 ‘friendly’ ingredients and a whopping 40 additives of a mostly unpronounceable nature.

Tracy Lee Nicol
Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.