Amid Chipotle’s effort to win back customers who may have strayed because of that whole food borne illness nightmare, the company has been trying to improve the customer experience. The company’s latest attempt to regain consumer trust involves removing all preservatives from its entire food menu.
The goal is to entice customers who see such food as more natural and thus, possibly healthier, reports The Wall Street Journal.
“If you care for your ingredients properly, package them nicely and keep them at the right temperature, you don’t need to have these preservatives,” Steve Ells, Chipotle founder and chief executive, told the WSJ.
While it might be relatively easy for a home cook to keep preservative-free ingredients from spoiling long enough to cook them, it’s an entirely other matter for a national chain. To that end, Chipotle said it had to revamp its recipes, supply chains, and bakery ventilation systems.
One thing Chipotle has going for it is that its menu isn’t as large as some of its other competitors — like Panera, which has also made a push to rid its food of artificial flavors and preservatives — allowing the company to ditch certain preservatives like propionic acid and benzoic acid, the WSJ points out.
Instead, Chipotle’s new tortillas have two to five ingredients, including flour, water, and canola oil. Keeping mold at bay while removing preservatives in the dough was no easy task, Ells told the WSJ. And because the last thing the company needs is a moldy tortilla debacle, Chipotle checked its bakeries for mold spores, installed new ventilation systems, and is injecting tortilla packaging with nitrogen which gets rid of oxygen, the stuff mold needs to grow.