The Center for Consumer Freedom, a non-profit organization that claims to oppose the "food police," attacked the food served by Chipotle in a full page fat-shaming ad in the New York Post on Thursday.
The ad features a severely obese man with the headline: "'Chipotle' Healthy," and the sub-headline: "Eat two 'all natural' Chipotle burritos a week and you could gain 40 pounds a year."
The ad continues in smaller print:
Chipotle makes high-calorie burritos and tacos, but spends most of its marketing dollars stressing how 'sustainable' it is or how its foods are antibiotic-free (until it sells meat that isn't).
All those claims sound good, but experts say they don't make their food healthier. Experts do agree that 1,300-1,500 calorie burritos will probably make you fat.
The ad never identifies its "experts," but features a website ChubbyChipotle.com and a drawing of a fat man in the Chubby Chipotle logo.
The Center for Consumer Freedom told the New York Post: “There is no single company or industry paying for the campaign.”
Author Michael Pollan wrote in The New York Times earlier this year that the Center for Consumer Freedom "is actually not a consumer group, but an astro-turf (that’s faux grassroots) advocacy group funded by Big Food."
The San Francisco Chronicle stated in 2008: "While it bills itself as 'devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices,' others describe it variously as a front group, PR agency or tool for the restaurant and alcohol industries."
For its part, the Center for Consumer Freedom website states:
A growing cabal of activists has meddled in Americans’ lives in recent years. They include self-anointed "food police," health campaigners, trial lawyers, personal-finance do-gooders, animal-rights misanthropes, and meddling bureaucrats.
Their common denominator? They all claim to know "what’s best for you." In reality, they’re eroding our basic freedoms—the freedom to buy what we want, eat what we want, drink what we want, and raise our children as we see fit. When they push ordinary Americans around, we’re here to push back.
However, the Center for Consumer Freedom is using some of the same tactics that it accuses the "food police" of using in its ad against Chipotle.
A Chipotle spokesman told the New York Post that the ad is a “ridiculous smear campaign.”