Blog: Barilla in damage limitation move over anti-gay remarks
Michelle Russell | 5 November 2013
Barilla has attempted to dig itself out of a massive, PR nightmare of a hole, after its CEO recently sparked outrage by saying he would never use gay couples in commercials.
In September, Guido Barilla, the chief executive of one of Italy's largest food groups, reportedly told Italian radio programme La Zanzara he would not choose to make adverts that portrayed homosexual families.
The controversial remarks sparked outrage and fierce criticism from consumers and gay rights activists.
A subsequent "apology" by Guido followed claiming Barilla "cares about everyone, regardless of race, religion, belief, gender or sexual orientation".
The apology may not have been enough though. It seems the CEO has gone one step further and called in experts to help overhaul its image and promote diversity in its ads.
In a message on its website, the pasta maker says it has established a Diversity & Inclusion Board, comprising external experts and advocates who will "help Barilla establish concrete goals and strategies for improving diversity and equality in the company's workforce and culture with regard to sexual orientation, gender balance, disability rights and multicultural and intergenerational issues".
It will also sign up to the Human Rights Campaign's corporate equality index, which rates companies on how open they are to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.
"As a socially responsible company that serves and respects diverse consumers, we know we have to expand our commitment," said Luca Virginio, Barilla's executive director of communication. "Our goal is to do better by becoming a global corporate citizen and leader in diversity and inclusion, internally and externally."
It is not known whether sales had been hurt by boycotts since the CEO's comments but Guido will no doubt be hoping this new move will smooth things over once and for all before any real damage is done.
The BBC turned to just-food today for insight on the price dispute between Tesco and Unilever....
Japan's Kewpie Corp. is acquiring Polish food maker Mosso Kwasniewscy as part of its overseas expansion efforts....
Just weeks after buying UK turkey processor Bernard Matthews from administration, food tycoon Ranjit Boparan has struck a similar deal....
Nestle's US refrigerated pasta and sauce brand Buitoni has committed to sourcing ingredients that do not contain GMOs. ...
Shares in Tyson Foods slumped on Friday, closing down almost 9% after an analyst claimed a lawsuit facing the company could hit the US meat titan....
- Analysis: Tyson's shrewd investment in Beyond Meat
- Price an underlying tension across European FMCG
- Thailand: convenience to continue to thrive
- Danone's Q3 sales - what the analysts say
- Interview: Some Foods on rise of low-FODMAP market
- Bel takes majority stake in MOM Group
- Mars launches Maltesers in the US
- Unilever in continuing price spat with Musgrave
- Nestle lowers outlook on "softer environment"
- China milk powder arrests prompt Fonterra "review"
- The Big 15: Strategies and Priorities of Top Packaged Food Players in Comparison
- Omega-3 in Food and Beverage:Time for a Reboot?
- Packaged Food: Quarterly Statement Q3 2016
- Global Food Packaging: Innovating for Greater Convenience and Quality Image
- Constellation Brands, Inc. (STZ) - Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review