Chipotle invests in cultured oil innovator Zero Acre Farm

Fast-casual chain Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced that it is investing in cultured oil startup Zero Acre Farm through its venture fund, Cultivate Next. The investment, for an undisclosed amount, is part of a series of initiatives Chipotle is taking to further its socially responsible mission and help meet ESG goals.

“We believe companies like Zero Acre Farms have the power to change the world.”

Zero Acre Farms is an organization focused on ending the food industry’s reliance on vegetable oils by providing healthier, more sustainable oils and fats. According to Chipotle, the world’s massive production of vegetable oil each year contributes greatly to global deforestation and carbon emissions. Zero Acres says it has created a new category of healthy, cultured oils using eco-friendly fermentation techniques.

Chef preparing greens in restaurant
©Chipotle Mexican Grill

Debut in the market

In July 2022, Zero Acres launched it first commercial product – Cultured Oil – Online. Described as an “all-purpose cooking oil”, the product was described as having more healthy monounsaturated fats than olive oil and a clean, delicious taste. Zero Acres also reports that cultured oil has a higher smoke point and a 90% smaller environmental footprint than regular vegetable oil.

inside in an interview Vegetarian, shared with Zero Acres co-founder and COO Jeff Nobbs, “We have a clear mission: to remove destructive vegetable oils from the food system. Our dream is for everyone everywhere in the world to be able to enjoy the foods they love without harming their health or the planet. Fat makes food tasty, and tasty food doesn’t have to be unhealthy or unsustainable. There’s a better way.”

Walk photo credit Nikki Toke Zero Acres
Image credit Nikky Tok courtesy of Zero Acre Farms

As of February 2022, Zero Acres raised $37M in one month Oversubscribed Series A round, which includes participation from Robert Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition Ventures.

Commenting on Chipotle’s investment, Chipotle CTO Kurt Garner said, “We believe companies like Zero Acre Farms have the power to change the world. Just as Chipotle changed the concept of fast food nearly 30 years ago, Zero Acre Farms is redefining cooking oil with healthier and more environmentally friendly offerings.”

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