People Freak Out Over Potential "Guacapocalypse" at Chipotle

Rachel Tepper Paley
March 5, 2014

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This writer can officially cross “getting shooed out of a Chipotle by an employee” off her bucket list, because that’s precisely what happened on Wednesday at one of the burrito chain’s Manhattan locations. Apparently, that’s what you get when you ask patrons about the possibility of a guacamole shortage.

PBS states that Chipotle’s 2013 annual report blamed volatile weather and climate change for possible changes in price and availability of its ingredients.

"In the event of cost increases with respect to one or more of our raw ingredients, we may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas, rather than paying the increased cost for the ingredients,” read the report, which has since been taken offline.

It’s not a surprising move, since the revelation had some consumers in a tizzy.

"I can’t have my chips and guac without guacamole!” cried Nick Jenkins as he waited in line. “It’s a lifestyle,” he added. Jenkins said he eats at Chipotle three times weekly, on average, and declares that a shortage would definitely derail his lunch plans. “If they didn’t have guacamole, I would only eat here, like, once every three weeks,” he said. “I mean, they still make a good burrito.”

A burrito predilection would also be the sticking point for Jim Fitzgerald, who said he’d patronize the chain even if guacamole was taken off the menu. “I’m a huge fan of their carnitas,” he explained. “If they didn’t have that, I might stop coming.”

But Phil Lavanco was downright steamed at the thought of going without guacamole. “How could you not have guac?!” he asked, incredulous. “It’s a joke. What, there’s not enough guacamole in the world?”

It’s true that guacamole doesn’t grow on trees, but fortunately for Lavanco, the “guacapocalypse” may be on hold. “There is no looming ‘guacapocalypse,’ and I wouldn’t read too much into this,” Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold told NPR blog The Salt. “With regard to avocados, we saw similar issues in 2011 and incurred higher prices for the avocados we used, but never stopped serving guacamole.”

If the horrified response from their patrons are any indication, Chipotle can’t afford a guacamole shortage right now. And considering that a store was willing to give a reporter the boot for asking questions, the chain probably knows it.

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