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TheStreet Open House

Chipotle Fires Fresh Salvo in GMO Battle

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - If you haven't seen the trailer yet for Chipotle Mexican Grill's (CMG) new "Farmed and Dangerous" mini-series, it's a must see.

The Denver-based burrito chain announced on Monday that it was launching the satirical comedy series via Hulu and Hulu Plus on Feb. 17. The series, which was produced by New York-based Piro, "explores the world of industrial agriculture in America." And judging from the comments when doing a simple search on Twitter (TWTR) under hashtag #farmedanddangerous, viewers are getting pumped.

This four-episode series is sure to be filled with suspense and plenty of entertainment, all while attempting to show Chipotle's view on sustainable agriculture and against genetically modified foods.

The marketing tactic heats up the battle over genetically modified foods, with companies like Chipotle, Hains Celestial (HAIN) and Whole Foods Market (WFM) on one side of the GMO battle fighting against them, while companies like DuPont (DD) and Monsanto (MON) are spending millions opposing legislative proposals in a handful of states that would require GMO-labeling of foods.

Last year, Chipotle became the first national restaurant company to voluntarily disclose the use of GMOs in its food, and the first to announce plans to eliminate GMOs from the ingredients it uses at its 1,550 restaurants, according to the release.

"Much of our marketing is aimed at making consumers more curious about where their food comes from and how it is prepared," Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing and development officer at Chipotle, said in a release. "By making complex issues about food production more understandable -- even entertaining -- we are reaching people who have not typically been tuned into these types of issues."

The show, which does not have any explicit Chipotle branding, "satirizes the lengths to which corporate agribusiness and its image-makers go to create a positive image of industrial agriculture," the release says.

The season, apparently the first, focuses on the introduction of PetroPellet, a new petroleum-based animal feed created by fictional industrial giant Animoil, Chipotle says.

"PetroPellet promises to reduce industrial agriculture's dependence on oil by eliminating the need to grow, irrigate, fertilize and transport the vast amount of feed needed to raise livestock on factory farms. Before its new feed formula can forever reshape industrial agriculture, Animoil's plans go awry when a revealing security video goes viral sending Animoil and their spin master, Buck Marshall (Ray Wise [of] 'Twin Peaks,' 'Mad Men' [and] '24') of the Industrial Food Image Bureau (IFIB), into damage control mode," it says.

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