Scarecrow Takes on Industrial Food Production

US brand Chipotle teaches sustainability through animation and games.


Scarecrow Takes on Industrial Food Production

Large scale franchises get  bad rap when it comes to sustainability due to their sheer scale – deforestation, depleting stressed fish stocks, draining grain and water resources, carbon footprints of supply chains. But in a bid to create consumer awareness and educate the next generation on sustainability, US brand Chipotle Mexican Grill has launched a video and interactive game designed to educate young and old on industrial food.

Launching their arcade-style adventure game called “The Scarecrow” along with an animated short film of the same name earlier in the year – both of which are free to download on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch from the Apple store.

Chipotle sends gamers and the scarecrow on a journey to bring wholesome food back to the world by providing an alternative to the processed food produced and controlled by the fictional industrial giant Crow Foods that dominates his world.

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Edutainment for the future

The short film and game are designed to help educate people about the world of industrial food production that supplies much of what they eat.

In the game, the Crow Foods factory is staffed by scarecrows displaced from their traditional jobs on the farm, and are now working for the crows by helping them maintain their unsustainable processed food system.

If it all sounds a bit too depressing, gamers are allowed to right the wrongs of the animated world and Crow Foods by transporting confined animals to open fields, grow diverse crops in farmland and serve wholesome meals to the people living in the city of Plenty. As each level is completed, the city of Plenty becomes more and more beautiful.

The moral of the story

“The more people learn about where their food comes from and how it is prepared, the more likely they are to seek out high-quality, classically prepared food like we serve in our restaurants,” says Chipotle chief marketing officer, Mark Crumpacker.

“We created ‘The Scarecrow’ game and filmas an entertaining and engaging way to help people better understand the difference between processed food and the real thing.”

“In many ways, the game represents what we aspire to accomplish through our vision of Food with Integrity,” says Crumpacker.

“In a system that’s so heavily dominated by industrial agriculture and factory farms, we are committed to finding better, more sustainable sources for all our our ingredients. We’re a bit like the scarecrow trying to take important steps to fix what her perceives as being broken in his world.”

To enhance the incentive to complete the game, Chipotle is providing food rewards redeemable at any of its 1500+ stores in the US, Canada and UK.

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