Remember when it looked like the Great Chipotle Carnitas Famine of 2015 was going to come to an end? Turns out that was just some wishful thinking. According to CBS, pork will not be making a return to Chipotle menus anytime soon. In January, the burrito chain announced that it dropped one of its pork suppliers for failing to meet Chipotle's "responsibly raised" meat standards. Thus, Chipotle entered into an abrupt pork shortage, and many locations around the country had to remove carnitas from their menus.
CBS notes that three months later, Chipotle is still looking for a solution. Spokesperson Chris Arnold says that "it isn't easy" to find a replacement supplier because "fewer than five percent of pigs raised in the U.S. meet Chipotle's standards." Niman Ranch announced in January that it was increasing its shipments to the chain by 15 to 20 percent, but even that is not enough to fix the shortage. Arnold adds, "There are no quick fixes." Chipotle is also looking into using a different cut besides pork shoulder for its carnitas but "that adds in complications of price and taste." Arnold tells Bloomberg, "We don't know for sure when we'll be fully supplied again."
Bloomberg points out that a growing number of chains — like McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts — are turning to sustainably raised ingredients, which may further deplete the supplies available to Chipotle. So carnitas fans, you might want to make the tofu sofritas your new go-to favorite.