Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Elevation Burger Adds Organic Chicken to Menu

From our friends at Elevation Burger...

Now the Only National Chain to Serve Exclusively Organic Chicken

Today, Elevation Burger, America’s first and largest organic burger chain, announced they are introducing organic chicken in all 50 domestic and international Elevation Burger restaurants. Elevation Burger is already the nation’s largest restaurant seller of organic beef. This move should soon make them America’s largest restaurant seller of organic chicken as well.

In guest surveys over the past several years, more and more loyal Elevation Burger customers indicated their hope that chicken would be added to the menu. In early 2013, Elevation Burger began looking for chicken that would meet their elevated standards. Elevation Burger was built on the belief that clean, organic meat is far healthier for people, is better for the environment, and tastes much better. So, like the beef they use for their burgers, any chicken served at an Elevation Burger restaurant would have to be USDA-certified Organic - no antibiotics, no hormones and no pesticides. It was also critical that the chickens be raised in open pastures, not in industrial poultry houses. In keeping with Elevation Burger’s standards, the chickens would need to be raised humanely.

Only a tiny percentage (0.4%) of livestock raised in the U.S. today comes from organic farms, so sourcing large amounts of organic chicken would present a significant challenge to any restaurant chain. Fortunately, Elevation Burger had already established strong relationships with organic farmers across the country who could supply all the organic chicken breast tenderloins required each year to meet Elevation Burger’s needs.

Introducing uncooked chicken to any restaurant adds operational complexities and health issues that Elevation Burger desired to avoid. Beginning in the fall of 2013, David and Kathi Wallis, Elevation Burger franchisees who also strongly supported adding chicken to the menu, hosted a testing program in their Maryland restaurants. Eventually, they discovered that cooked chicken breasts from a company called Cuisine Solutions tested with flavor, tenderness and moisture results decidedly superior to all others. Based in northern Virginia, Cuisine Solutions had perfected its innovative sous-vide method for slow-cooking chicken and had become the global leader in the practice. When guests at Elevation Burger order chicken, the sous-vide chicken is then finish-grilled to perfection to deliver a hot and juicy organic product.

In September 2014, Cuisine Solutions agreed to become Elevation Burger’s exclusive chicken provider and began buying USDA-certified organic chicken to supply Elevation Burger restaurants worldwide.

The next step was for Cuisine Solutions to undergo the rigorous certification process so their final product would merit USDA Organic Certification. Elevation Franchise Ventures had guided a number of their partners through this certification process before and were happy to assist Cuisine Solutions. Now, all chicken prepared for Elevation Burger bears the USDA’s coveted Certified Organic label.

Stanislas Vilgrain, Cuisine Solutions’ CEO, sees organic meats as the wave of the future. “Research makes it very clear that more and more people are becoming conscious of the food they feed themselves and their families,” says Vilgrain. “We have always strived to provide the finest quality, best-tasting and healthiest products, and gaining USDA Organic Certification allows us to help ensure there is an adequate supply to meet the demand of these health-conscious consumers.”

Elevation Burger CEO, Rick Altizer agrees: “People want clean, better-tasting food they can trust, that’s raised humanely and in a way that’s better for the environment. Ours is the best chicken on the planet and the best chicken for the planet.”

The introduction of organic chicken to Elevation Burger’s menu also represents a watershed moment for the organic food movement in the United States overall, as Organic Trade Association Executive Director Laura Batcha observes: “The fact that Elevation Burger worked with a company the size of Cuisine Solutions to help them gain organic certification is huge. The organic label is one of the most trusted food labels, but going organic isn’t easy. Kudos to Elevation Burger for listening to its customers while still maintaining its high standards. We hope this serves as an example of how people can usually find a way to do the right thing if they persist.”

Permanent chicken menu offerings at Elevation Burger include a grilled chicken sandwich, grilled chicken breasts tenderloins, and the option to add chicken to salads. Additional limited-time-only offerings will be unveiled throughout the year.

About Elevation Burger:
Elevation Burger was originally conceived in 2002 by founder Hans Hess, who set out to create a healthier burger with a great taste on par with those he was accustomed to enjoying on the West Coast. The difference was that this burger would be organic - no antibiotics, hormones, or pesticides that could hurt people. Hans determined that organic, 100% grass-fed beef was the key to a burger that truly stands apart from the rest in terms of taste, quality, healthiness, and sustainability.

Elevation Burger is committed to offering an exceptionally flavorful, nutritionally superior product through ingredients such as premium USDA-certified organic, 100% grass-fed, free-range beef that is ground on premises; fresh-cut fries cooked in heart-healthy olive oil; hand-scooped shakes and malts; and organic, pasture-raised chicken. For more information, visit Elevation Burger online at www.elevationburger.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ElevationBurger, on Instagram at www.instagram.com/elevationburger or on Twitter @ElevationBurger.

About Cuisine Solutions:
Cuisine Solutions is the global leader in sous-vide, an innovative cooking technique in which food is vacuum-sealed and slow-cooked in water at constant low temperatures until it is perfectly cooked through. No other cooking method produces such consistently excellent textures and flavors, or maintains the natural integrity of foods so well. Cuisine Solutions provides sous-vide cuisine to restaurants, hotels, retail, the military and on board services.

Cuisine Solutions’ chief scientist, Bruno Goussault has trained more than half of the 3-star Michelin chefs in the world on sous-vide techniques in their in-house Culinary Research & Education Academy (CREA). To learn more about CREA go to: http://www.lecrea.com/en/.