Keeping homophobia off the table

This post was co-written with Doug Keeler, Communications/PR intern.

UPDATE: After a remarkable worldwide campaign by consumers and LGBT activists to boycott his family's pasta company, Guido Barilla issued a second apology via video on the company's website and pledged to meet with LGBT organizations.

Since the response from LGBT people and allies in 2013, several media outlets have noted that Barilla has completed a turnaround and done work internally and externally to support LGBT people and families. The Huffington Post gave Barilla the title of 'Most Improved' in a list of five companies that go 'above and beyond for the LGBT community.' You can check out Barilla's work to show support for LGBTQ youth on #SpiritDay here


The top noodle at Barilla pasta, Chairman Guido Barilla, told gay consumers this week to take their money elsewhere. "Eat another brand of pasta," he said during a radio interview. "I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family…I don't agree with them," Barilla added.

Later, the chairman issued a less-than-satisfactory apology. Barilla specified that he did not intend to come off as anti-gay, but wanted to be clear that he was "absolutely" opposed to "adoptions in gay families." According to a post on the company's Facebook, Barilla also hoped to "underline the centrality of the woman's role in the family."

Despite a lack of enthusiasm around Barilla's anti-gay and misogynistic apology, we are excited to follow Barilla's suggestion and stop buying Barilla products. Here are some LGBT-friendly products our LGBT and ally readers may be interested in adding to their grocery lists, after they sign an Italian mom's petition for Stop & Shop to drop Barilla:

 Kraft Macaroni & Cheese - Kraft Foods Inc. is a long-time supporter of the LGBT community. For example, they're the company behind 2012's Oreo Pride ad. To satisfy some of your pasta needs, whip up some infamous Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Tip: Grab some Oscar Meyer wieners, owned by Kraft, while you're at it. My mom would often top off mac and cheese with hot dog pennies when I was growing up, and it was awesome.

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls – Add some flakey, buttery elegance to your meal while giving yourself an excuse to giggle infectiously a la everyone's favorite doughboy. If you're not in the mood for pasta, Pillsbury also makes a variety of pizza crust dough products if you're looking to have a make-your-own pizza night.

Cascadian Farms – Like Pillsbury, organic Cascadian Farms is owned by General Mills, a company that supports marriage equality and has opposed anti-marriage campaigns in the past. They even made the hate group National Organization for Marriage angry as a result. Green Giant is also in the same LGBT-inclusive family, should you be looking for additional veggie options.

Hidden Valley – Summer's over, so we can all (thankfully) give up on eating dry salads.  But assuming you're still down for a pre-dinner salad bowl, Hidden Valley, a brand of Clorox, has a smooth track recording of supporting equality.  They even have a line of hate-free pasta salads.  For the main course, KC Masterpiece (another Clorox brand) barbecue sauces, marinades, and seasonings ought to do the trick.

Pasta – Just in case you're really jonesing for a pasta night—or just need a quick and easy dinner—HRC has listed a few LGBT-friendly alternatives, including Target's Market Pantry brand, Chef Boyardee, DeBolles, Rosetta, and General Mills' Macaroni Grill line.  When it comes to sauce and other fixings, Bertolli's got you covered.  They did what Barilla's chairman refuses to do years ago: featuring gay couples in their ads since 2009. [embed video?]

Aquafina – The bottled water, as well as Naked juice, Tropicana, Gatorade, SoBe Life Water, and Lipton (just to name a few), are under the parent company PepsiCo. Pepsi has been a strong supporter for advocacy groups like Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG.

Dasani – If you're more loyal to Coca-Cola, that's okay, too.  The beverage brand, which includes vitaminwater, Odwalla, POWERade, Hi-C, Sprite, and Seagram's Ginger Ale, also maintains excellent relationships with its LGBT employees and consumers.

Ben & Jerry's – Treat yourself: it should come as no surprise that Ben & Jerry's has been a long, strong supporter of marriage equality—and just an all-around dependable pick-me up after a long day.  Breyers Ice Cream and Popsicle are other brands belonging to Ben & Jerry's parent company Unilever, another high-scorer on workplace equality. 

As for where to pick up these LGBT-friendly noms, Safeway and Target are both strong supporters of LGBT equality.  Don't let Guido Barilla's hateful comments get you down.  Serve up a loving meal, and—to quote a great queen-- "make them eat it."

Don't forget to sign the petition now!