Chipotle guacamole could be threatened by avocado availability

March 5, 2014

In its annual report, the restaurant chain listed drought and changes in global weather patterns as risk factors to its business. That means global climate change may drive the price of some ingredients through the roof, mainly avocados.

Chipotle says it uses 97,000 pounds of avocados a day. The restaurant promises customers won't have to deal with guacamole withdrawal anytime soon. A spokesman for the company says the report is nothing more than a routine risk factor disclosure.

Other restaurants could be affected, too.

The kitchen at San Francisco's Chilango restaurant is full of fresh organic produce, which is now a lot more expensive because of California's drought.

"We're concerned about avocados, limes and tomatoes. We know the world is changing and we make our best effort to get them," said Ernesto Juarez, manager.

Juarez says the star of the kitchen, avocados, are transformed nightly into an amazing guacamole.

The guacamole is an organic specialty, but scientists say avocados could be hard to come by in the next 10-20 years because of climate change, which could knock that specialty right off the menu.

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Lab predict climate change will bring hotter weather and cause a 40-percent drop in California avocado production over the next three decades.

Chipotle is paying close attention. For a company which uses 35 million pounds of avocados every year, it's warning investors that could mean higher prices, even the end of guacamole sales.

Customer David Joseph likes his Chipotle guacamole, and he's not alone. "For a corporation like chipotle to threaten to cease guacamole sales would be a shortsighted business decision," Joseph said.

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