Chipotle Taps Shopify to Launch Virtual Farmers’ Market

The fast-Mexican joint is hoping to feature and support its suppliers while still connecting with consumers.

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Need to Know

  • Chipotle will allow consumers to purchase goods directly from its supply chain of farmers with the help of Shopify’s e-commerce platform.
  • Chipotle will assist in the development of individual Shopify marketplaces for farmers and will cover fees for the first two years.
  • The fast-food company’s aim is to help its suppliers weather the financial storm of COVID-19 retail restrictions.

Analysis

Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle is stepping up to the plate for its suppliers, partnering with Shopify to launch a Virtual Farmers’ Market that will give consumers the ability to purchase products from individual farms via their own digital marketplaces.

The Virtual Farmers’ Market is now live and features products from Niman Ranch, Petaluma Creamery, McKaskle Family Farm, and Meister Cheese — all Chipotle suppliers and all of whom have their own individual Shopify marketplace. Chipotle funded and supported the development of these marketplaces, and is paying each supplier’s vendor fee for the first two years of operation.

Chipotle’s new ecommerce partnership with its vendors is the restaurant chain’s attempt to ensure its suppliers are able to survive the COVID pandemic, which has drastically altered — and threatened — the way farmers and food purveyors have traditionally made money.

“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,” Chris Brandt, Chipotle’s CMO said in a statement. “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.”  

In addition to the Virtual Farmers’ Market, Chipotle will be publishing a series of TikTok videos from Director of Culinary and Menu Development Chef Chad Brauze, in which Brauze will cook recipes using ingredients available from Chipotle’s Virtual Farmers’ Market partners.

The partnership is just the latest big-business win for Shopify. In June, the Canadian e-commerce company became Walmart’s first-ever platform partner, with more than than 1,200 Shopify merchants expected to join Walmart.com by the end of the year.

Chipotle, too, has been aggressively expanding its digital offerings during the pandemic: in June, the company launched Pepper, a Facebook concierge that allows customers to place and pay for orders via Facebook Messenger; the same month, the company brought its app to Canadian consumers. The company’s 2020’s Q1 results, posted in April, showed an 80% jump in digital sales — an incredible feat as many businesses saw sales dip due to COVID-19.

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