© William Brinson

But it's really, really small.

April 04, 2017

Guac is extra. Extra DELICIOUS, that is. 

And Chipotle is giving away its infamously pricey side dish—chips and guac—for free this week. Of course, there’s a minor catch: Only those who can find the hidden artificial ingredient on the chain’s website will receive their free snack.

The promotion is called “Spot the Imposter” and it’s running from Monday, April 3 through Friday, April 7. By visiting the Real Ingredients page on the brand’s website and working to find the “imposter” ingredient (it’s part of the visual showcasing their 51 ingredients), you’ll be sent the one-time offer to your mobile phone.

If you’re wondering why the chain is so intent on sending customers to its website, you might not have heard about Chipotle’s recent unveiling of its new menu. Just a week ago, its mission to sell completely preservative-free food was achieved. The menu for the brand’s U.S. stores now contain just 51 total ingredients, all of which include organic produce, hormone-free meat, and zero GMOs. The flour tortillas now contain just 5 ingredients: wheat flour, water, canola oil, yeast, and salt. That’s a serious downscaling from their original ingredient list, which contained things like sodium acid pyrophosphate, calcium propionate, distilled monoglycerides, and several other preservatives.

Even the brand’s burrito wrappers have gotten a shake-up. They, too, are all-natural and no longer contain dough conditioners and preservatives. 

Players who partake in the new online game will be entered into a sweepstakes every time they succeed at identifying the right “imposter,” and the winner of that will either receive free burritos for an entire year or a dinner for 10 people.

And the contest isn’t the only change to befall the brand due to their new menu. Chipotle’s new tortillas, which have been tested across the U.S. since early 2017, will have to be stored in coolers instead of at room temperature, and supply chains and entire bakery ventilation systems had to be thoroughly revamped in order to make the new recipes possible. Tortilla packaging will also be injected with nitrogen from now on to stop possible mold growth.

As Steve Ells, Chipotle founder and chief executive, told the Wall Street Journal recently, “If you care for your ingredients properly, package them nicely and keep them at the right temperature, you don’t need to have these preservatives.”