In March, Chipotle caused an uproar among the burrito-loving public when it announced that rising food prices—potentially related to climate change in many cases—could cause the chain to temporarily stop serving guacamole. That hasn't happened, though Chipotle has raised burrito prices across the country. In-N-Out Burger, the fast food chain in California and the Southwest known for its tasty burgers, fries, and shakes, is following suit.
The chain has already increased the price of its cheeseburgers and hamburgers by 10 cents. The Double Double, made out of two hamburger patties and two cheese slices, is now 15 cents more than it was a year ago, with a cost of $3.45. Soda prices have also risen by 5 cents.
Carl Van Fleet, In-N-Out’s executive vice president of development, explained the reasoning behind the move to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. “Unfortunately, we have seen some pretty significant cost increases over the last year and we had to take a small price increase in order to maintain our quality standards.”
It's easy to link back Chipotle's guacamole threats to California's drought. But what of beef prices?
Part of the blame lies in an increased market for beef exports and a cattle herd in the U.S. that's smaller than it's been in over half a century. Texas's drought, which has reduced the amount of pastureland available for cattle, is also a big factor. And in California, farmers are using what precious water is left on high value crops, like tomatoes and lettuce, according to the article.
Farmers have traditionally brought cattle to California to take advantage of its natural pastures and mild climate; with the drought, that's no longer feasible. A lack of certainty about where cattle will be raised in the future isn't doing any favors to beef prices, either.
All of which is to say: if you enjoy Chipotle burritos, In-N-Out burgers, or just food in general, you might want to seriously start thinking about how climate change will affect your food supply.
[Image: In and Out Burger via Flickr user Adam Wilson]