Move Over Meat, Tofu Is Coming to Chipotle

by Namita Arunkumar
BHS News

A San Francisco area Chipotle features tofu on the menu

A San Francisco area Chipotle features tofu on the menu

Chipotle has easily become one of the most popular restaurant chains across the United States. Riding the wave of health consciousness which has swept the American public away in recent years, Chipotle has capitalized on the average consumer’s concern for their well-being in a big way. And they are hoping their latest menu item will take that to the next level.

Recently, Chipotle announced that it has added Sofritas, or tofu, to their menu. Right up on the board with the chicken, steak, and carnitas, the sofritas are meant to appeal to people looking for a healthy meat substitute in their diet.

Although McDonald’s was at one time a major investor in Chipotle (they divested their owning in 2006), one could never guess that the two chains are related to each other at all. In lieu of the greasy, fried food found at McDonald’s, Chipotle strives to use organic ingredients and free range livestock in order to appeal to people looking for a different fast food experience. The difference in quality of the food is already very large, but a new change to Chipotle’s menu may widen that gap even more.

Often used by vegetarians and vegans as a replacement for meat, tofu has numerous health benefits that outweigh the benefits of meat*. When comparing 3 oz.tofu with 3 oz. of skinless roasted chicken, it was found that the tofu was lower in calories and cholesterol and had higher levels of nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus than the chicken**.

Chipotle has not introduced Sofritas to Massachusetts yet, but they have already been served at restaurants which span 15 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and one Canadian province. Clearly, the Sofritas have been a success around the country, but will it meet the same success in Braintree?

When asked their opinion of having tofu served at Chipotle, the reactions of the student body were mixed. Some students are looking forward to the menu change. Said one student, “It’s a nice variety of food being served and it switches things up”. However, most students were unenthusiastic about the idea. “I don’t think they have much to gain from adding it. I myself am not a fan of tofu” responded another student.

Ready or not, tofu is coming and its here to stay. Not only is the tofu a way to add more options to vegetarians and vegans, but it also allows Chipotle to stress the difference between it and other fast food chains. Certainly, no other fast food restaurant serves tofu,and in this day and age, Chipotle’s awareness of the regular customer’s health needs puts it ahead of the game.

*Like all foods, tofu may not be for everybody due to pre-existing health conditions and should be eaten with caution