Shake Shack has partnered with an environmentally friendly and health-focused cooking oil company on a pilot program that’ll determine if the gourmet fast-casual chain will switch its oil supplier in the future.
Zero Acre Farms, which brands itself as "the better cooking oil," announced the test partnership in a press release the San Mateo, California, company released on Monday, Sept. 18.
"Like many food businesses, our menu items depend on the natural environment so we can continue serving guests the food they love," Jeffrey Amoscato, Shake Shack’s senior vice president of supply chain and menu innovation, said in a statement.
"It's why we are continuously exploring new ways to reduce our environmental footprint, including partnerships with companies like Zero Acre who are creating sustainable food solutions," he continued. "We remain committed to exploring initiatives that help us become a more sustainable business including the reduction of waste across operations, and collaborating with farmers, and suppliers on a regular basis."
Two Shake Shack locations in New York City will exclusively fry with Zero Acre Cultured Oil, which is derived from sugarcane plants, instead of the soybean oil the restaurant chain has traditionally used.
The two locations include the Shake Shacks in Hudson Yards and Battery Park City, according to Zero Acre Farms.
The oil that Zero Acre Farms manufactures is meant to be an all-purpose cooking oil.
Zero Acre Farms ferments raw sugar from sugarcane and reportedly converts it into an oil that has a neutral taste and a high amount of healthy fats.
In published nutrition facts, Zero Acre Farms claims 93% of its oil is made monounsaturated fat, which exceeds that of olive oil, and 4% of saturated fat and 3% of polyunsaturated fat.
Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered "healthy fats" that are found in plant foods, such as nuts, avocados and vegetable oils, according to Medline Plus, an online information service produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Eating moderate amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fats (and trans fats) – also known as blood cholesterol raisers – can offer health benefits, such as lowering bad cholesterol levels and cell maintenance, according to Medline Plus.
"Shake Shack has always been in a league of its own, with an iconic brand, deep culinary roots, and premium ingredients at a great value," said Jeff Nobbs, co-founder and CEO of Zero Acre Farms, in a statement.
"We're excited to further elevate the taste of their fries, chicken, and other menu items with cleaner frying in Zero Acre oil," he continued. "This partnership combines the deliciousness that Shake Shack is known for with the health and sustainability focus of Zero Acre, allowing diners to feel good with every bite."
The two test locations will use to make Crinkle Cut Fries, 'Shroom Burger, Shack Stack, Veggie Shack, Chicken Shack, Chicken Bites and limited-time hot menu items.
Shake Shack started out as a small hot dog stand in New York City’s Madison Square Park in 2001. It was founded by Daniel Meyer, a restaurateur who’s also the founder of the Union Square Hospitality Group.
The stand turned into a kiosk-style restaurant in 2004 with an expanded menu.
In the last two decades, Shake Shack has grown significantly with over 200 domestic locations and over 100 international locations.
Shake Shack became a publicly traded fast food company in January 2015 with its initial public offering (IPO) set at $21 per share on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
As of Monday, Sept. 18, Shake Shack has a market cap of $2.68 billion, according to the NYSE.