Chipotle tweaks menu to appeal to dieters

Chipotle is testing new menu items like quesadillas, nachos, a new spring salad, a classic Mexican chocolate milkshake and avocado tostadas.

Chipotle, eager to promote itself as a healthy choice, tweaked its menu to fit with trendy diet plans.

Beginning Wednesday, the Mexican food chain will begin offering “Lifestyle Bowls,” a new collection of meals that fit into paleo, ketogenic and Whole30 diets.

“These first-to-category, diet-driven menu offerings are helping those who have committed to living a healthier lifestyle by making it easy to order delicious bowls that only contain the real ingredients permitted by certain diet regimens,” the company said in a statement.

The new bowls can be ordered on Chipotle’s (CMG) app or online. The items consist of ingredients already on the menu, so walk-in eaters can also order the bowls.

The diet bowls include:

  • Whole30 Salad Bowl: Romaine lettuce, carnitas, fajita veggies, tomato salsa and guacamole
  • Paleo Salad Bowl: Romaine lettuce, barbacoa, fajita veggies, green salsa and guacamole
  • Keto Salad Bowl: Romaine lettuce, carnitas, red salsa, cheese and guacamole
  • Double Protein Bowl: White rice, black beans, chicken (full portion), steak (full portion), red salsa, romaine lettuce and sour cream

All three of these diets follow strict rules and are growing in popularity.

The ketogenic diet includes low-carb, high-fat foods that force the body into a state of ketosis — when you burn fat, instead of carbohydrates, for energy. Whole30 cuts out sugar, grains, dairy and legumes for 30 days, and paleo is modeled after eating habits in the paleolithic era.

The move toward diet food is another step in Chipotle’s reinvention, as it works to recover from a series of health scares at its restaurants.

The new bowls are latest change under CEO Brian Niccol, the former head of Taco Bell, who has turned the restaurant around after a number of people got sick during multiple outbreaks of foodborne illness in recent years. The most serious was an E. coli outbreak in 2015 that sickened 60 customers in 14 states.

In 2018 the company closed 2,000 locations to retrain staff on food safety.

Chipotle stock skyrocketed 40% last year and is one of the top-10 performers in the S&P 500 since Niccol joined. He also started testing a slew of new items, like milkshakes, beefed up its digital offerings and launched a new advertising campaign.

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