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Chipotle launches online produce marketplace

Chipotle Mexican Grill is partnering with Shopify to help farmers in its supply chain sell directly to consumers.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is rolling out the Chipotle Virtual Farmers Market, based on the Shopify e-commerce platform. The virtual market will allow farmers who supply Chipotle to launch improved versions of their own e-commerce websites and individually sell meat, dairy, grain products, and other items directly to consumers across the country.

Chipotle is assisting in the development of each supplier’s site, covering hosting fees on Shopify for two years and supporting the design and development of the direct-to-consumer storefronts. The fast-casual chain says it intends to provide its suppliers a new stream of revenue and enhance their commitment to sustainable farming practices amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past month, Chipotle and Shopify have worked together to lead virtual onboarding sessions with the partner farmers to help them get acquainted with Shopify’s e-commerce platform.

To kick off the program, four different Chipotle suppliers will sell through their own individual digital storefronts as part of the Chipotle Virtual Farmers’ Market: Niman Ranch (pork), Petaluma Creamery (cheese), McKaskle Family Farm (organic rice), and Meister Cheese (cheese). Each product used in Chipotle restaurants is called out next to each farm on the Virtual Farmers’ Market homepage, so customers can order key ingredients in their favorite menu items. 

In addition, throughout the week, Chipotle’s director of culinary and menu development chef Chad Brauze will share Chipotle Virtual Farmers’ Market-inspired recipes on Chipotle’s TikTok channel.

“It can be intimidating for many family farms to change the way they do business, so we’re giving our suppliers the right tools and resources to successfully launch improved e-commerce platforms,” said Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer, Chipotle. “Our ‘Food with Integrity’ values start with our farmers and helping them adapt to new technologies and ways of reaching the consumer is crucial for both the future of the farming industry and Chipotle.”  

Shopify has been entering partnerships with retail partners to help them facilitate e-commerce marketplace sales for small-to-mid-sized businesses. Recent examples include Walmart and Facebook.

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