Chipotle taps Bill Nye the Science Guy to help sell its new environmental ‘foodprint’ tracker
Quick service restaurants have been ramping up efforts to measure the impact their food has on the environment.
Earlier this month, Panera began labeling its menu items with “cool food meal” logos to denote which dishes have less of a carbon footprint. In July, Burger King used yodeling star Mason Ramsey to show how it started feeding lemongrass to cows to reduce methane emissions produced by cow farts.
Now, Chipotle is introducing a “Real Foodprint” tracker online and in-app that shows the environmental benefits of its 53 real ingredients compared to conventional ones, and has teamed up with Bill Nye the Science Guy to give its data some weight.
On Monday, Nye—who gives a nostalgic kick to 90s kids who grew up watching him in classrooms across America—took to TikTok to share a video in which he encounters himself at a Chipotle and orders his favorite meal. The other Nye reports that he has an “excellent real foodprint” and explains why.
It’s Nye’s first ad on TikTok, where he has 4.8 million followers. Since joining in March at the onset of the pandemic, Nye has posted nine other videos in which he teaches quick science experiments to do around the home and talks about the importance of wearing a mask and washing hands to curb COVID.
Nye also appears in a 30-second video on Chipotle’s website and across video platforms including YouTube and Teads. Edits of the video will appear on Chipotle’s social media channels. “Just by eating real, responsibly-raised food, you can do a little something to cultivate a better world,” the 64-year-old personality says in the spot. Chipotle worked with Day One Agency and influencer agency RQ on the campaign.
Chipotle is also utilizing a strategy similar to one that rival McDonald’s has put to use with Travis Scott and J Balvain-named meals. Chipotle is offering a Bill Nye burrito bowl in its app and online for a limited time. It’s the same bowl Nye orders in the TikTok clip: a burrito bowl with white rice, black beans, chicken, roasted chili-corn salsa and queso. The Bill Nye bowl follows limited edition celebrity orders of the Women’s National Soccer team, hockey stars, wellness influencers, Tony Hawk and Chipotle’s first—the David Dobrik Burrito on National Burrito Day in 2019.
For the “Real Foodprint” tracker, Chipotle has partnered with independent research company HowGood to generate environmental reports based on the ingredients in each order. HowGood aggregates information from Chipotle’s suppliers and uses more than 450 other data sources, including government research and scientific studies, to make specific data claims on the environmental impact of Chipotle’s ingredients compared to conventional ingredients.
The reports highlight the brand’s sustainability efforts across five metrics: carbon in the atmosphere, gallons of water saved, improved soil health, organic land that is supported and antibiotics avoided. The Bill Nye burrito bowl, for example, generates 0.8 less carbon in the atmosphere, supports 0.9 feet of organic land, saves 0.4 gallons of water, avoids 42.3 milligrams of antibiotics and improves the health of 1.7 square feet of soil.
Chipotle claims to be the first brand to provide detailed impact data.
"Beyond asking people to make the right choice for the climate based on a carbon label, we are demonstrating the impact of our sourcing practices through data computed based on the ingredients in our guests' orders," Caitlin Leibert, head of sustainability at Chipotle, said in a statement.
"While our guests can make good choices for the planet by simply eating at Chipotle, the radical transparency provided by Real Foodprint also holds us accountable to improve our practices and source more sustainably over time,” she says. “It is the combination of transparency for our guests and Chipotle's commitment to higher standards that make Real Foodprint so impactful.”