Best & Worst LGBTQ-Minded Food Brands to Work For

Coca-Cola Gay Pride

As we continue our celebration of Pride Month at Chowhound and CBS, and 50 years since the historic protests at Stonewall Inn, we also celebrate those who’ve made the world a brighter, safer place for LGBTQ+ people around the world. Since the first twinkles of the gay rights movement, companies have played an important role standing in support and protection of queer employees, while others have been slower to act on our behalf.

Jehan Agrama, an original founder of GLADD and co-owner of Lemonette Dressings, remembers the “goosebumps” she felt seeing a rainbow-adorned bottle of Absolut Vodka for the first time during Pride in the ’90s. Beyond seasonal marketing (which matters), Agrama cites brands like Ben & Jerry’s who helped pave the way boldly offering rights and workplace protections for LGBTQ+ employees. A show of solidarity and equality long before it was fashionable, even in liberal bastions like Vermont.

Absolut Vodka Gay Pride

Recently, as it does every year, the Human Rights Campaign released its Corporate Equality Index (CEI) which reviews and rates a cross-section of corporations—spanning nearly every industry and geography—on their acceptance and support of GLBTQ+ rights and protections, and ultimately deems them “The Best (& Worst) Places To Work”. Many of the thousands of companies audited in the CEI were food and drink brands, some scoring as high as 100 (a perfect score) to as low as zero (looking at you, Dole).

As it stands, federal protections for LGBTQ+ people in the workplace are far from secure or law of the land, but we salute the advocates, allies, and leaders who paved the way and tip our hat (and wallets) to 2019’s top-performing food and drink brands who work to create safe and welcoming environments for the queer community.

Perfect Scores:
  • Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. St. Louis MO 100

  • Aramark Corp. Philadelphia PA 100

  • Barilla America Inc. Northbrook IL 100

  • Campbell Soup Co. Camden NJ 100

  • Cargill Inc. Wayzata MN 100

  • Chobani Norwich NY 100

Chobani Café Strawberry Sprinkle Sandwich

  • Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta GA 100

  • Conagra Brands Inc. Chicago IL 100

  • Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. Canton MA 100

  • E&J Gallo Winery Modesto CA 100

  • Hannaford Supermarkets Scarborough, Maine 100

  • Hershey Co., The Hershey PA 100

  • General Mills Inc. Minneapolis MN 100

  • Danone North America White Plains NY 100

  • Kraft Heinz Company, The Chicago IL 100

  • Kroger Co., The Cincinnati OH 100

  • Brown-Forman Corp. Louisville KY 100

  • Shake Shack Inc New York NY 100

Shake Shack Pride Shake

  • Sodexo Inc. Gaithersburg MD 100

  • PepsiCo Inc. Purchase NY 100

  • Kellogg Co. Battle Creek MI 100

  • McDonald’s Corp. Oak Brook IL 100

  • MillerCoors LLC Chicago IL 100

  • Nestle USA Inc. Glendale CA 100

  • Burger King Corp. Miami FL 100

Honorable Mention:
Ben & Jerry's IDOugh

  • Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. South Burlington VT 95

  • Hormel Foods Corp. Austin MN 95

  • Mars Inc. Mt. Olive NJ 90

  • McCormick & Company Inc. Sparks MD 90

  • Nestle Waters North America Inc. Stamford CT 95

  • Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. Lakeville-Middleboro MA 90

  • Panera Bread Co. St. Louis MO 90

  • Tyson Foods Inc. Springdale AR 90

  • Denny’s Corp. Spartanburg SC 90

  • Darden Restaurants Inc. Orlando FL 90

Work to Do:
  • Dole Food Co. Inc. Westlake Village CA 0

  • Dean Foods Co. Dallas TX 20

  • Gastronomy Inc. Salt Lake City UT 25

  • H.E. Butt Grocery Co. San Antonio TX 30

  • Palm Management Corp. Washington DC 30

  • Sanderson Farms Inc. Laurel MS 30

*The CEI rates companies on detailed criteria in four broad categories:

  • Non-discrimination policies

  • Employment benefits

  • Supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility including a public commitment to LGBTQ equality

  • Responsible citizenship

Source, David Watsky for Chowhound.