'Food, Inc.' gets boost from Chipotle

Chain sponsoring screenings of documentary in 32 cities

Consumers can get a side of knowledge with their next burrito.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has partnered with Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media and River Road Entertainment to promote the documentary "Food, Inc."

Beginning Tuesday, the chain will sponsor free screenings of the film in 32 U.S. cities. It will also place promotional material in all of its more than 860 restaurants.

"Food, Inc.," now playing in theaters, examines unsavory practices within America's food industry. Directed by Robert Kenner, the film features the commentary of authors Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food") and Eric Schlosser ("Fast Food Nation"), who discuss the ills of modern food production practices and the influence of major agriculture companies in shaping government policy.

Bringing this message about America's food practices to consumers gives Chipotle an opportunity to showcase its eco-friendly "food with integrity" philosophy.

Chipotle says that 35% of the beans it uses are organically grown and that it serves more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant worldwide.

"I hope that all our customers see this film," said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. "The more they know about where their food comes from, the more they will appreciate what we do."

The screenings will take place on a single night at a local theater in each city, with special private showings for cities in which the film is not already playing. Chipotle also plans to include a bonus feature about sustainable agriculture on the "Food, Inc." DVD when it is released this year.

"Chipotle is a great example of a company that's on the right track to improving our food system," Kenner said. "Chipotle's philosophy shares many of the same values expressed in 'Food, Inc.'"