Chipotle is facing a massive pork shortage.
The company stopped serving pork at a third of its restaurants this week after discovering animal treatment violations by one its meat suppliers.
Now another supplier is stepping in to save the day.
Niman Ranch, Chipotle’s primary pork supplier, increased its pork shipments to Chipotle this week to address the problem, the company told Business Insider.
“We were able to increase supply to Chipotle by 15% to 20% starting this week and we should be able to do that moving forward,” Niman Ranch Executive Vice President Jeff Tripician said in a phone interview.
Niman Ranch is dipping into its pork reserves to increase shipments in the short-term.
“We put a small amount [of pork] aside for holidays or special events,” Tripician said.
But that’s not going to completely plug the gap.
Niman Ranch and Chipotle are also discussing using different cuts of meat for the carnitas, both companies confirmed. Tripician couldn’t say which cuts could be used, because the carnitas recipe is proprietary.
In order to sustain the bigger shipments to Chipotle, Niman is also looking to speed up its recruitment of new hog farmers.
The company currently oversees 700 farmers who must follow strict guidelines for raising pigs, such as feeding the animals a vegetarian diet and giving them access to the outdoors.
“We would like to double the number of farmers over the next couple of years,” Tripician said. “Though we have demand now that would even exceed us doubling the farmers.”
Niman Ranch’s customers include Chipotle, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Panera, Shake Shack, and Au Bon Pain.
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