Close to 600 pounds (or about $1.9 billion worth) of candy is purchased every Halloween, which means manufacturers of the sweet stuff make major bank. Just like other companies, some brands are more gay-friendly than others, and if they are decidedly unfriendly, then it might be a better idea to put your trick or treating funds elsewhere.
So in case you want to be conscious of something other than what makes you the most popular house in the ‘hood, here’s how the major candy brands add up, as classified by the HRC’s annual Buying Resource Guide. As a reminder, the HRC ranks businesses on a scale of 0-100 based on the policies they have in place to support their LGBT employees. Whether not they provide things like anti-discrimination protections, domestic partner benefits, diversity training and transgender-inclusive benefits is a pretty good indication on how much they value our community and the LGBTQ people they have working for them.
Hilariously, a site called The Faith Driven Consumer also gives ratings to the same companies providing “better alternatives,” aka ones that support Biblical Sexuality and Family.
Best Option: Hershey (HRC score: 85)
Hershey has an Equality Resource Group (ERG) called Prism and an annual Inclusion Day. They lose points in the area of transgender benefits but that’s surely something PRISM is working on. Don’t feel one bit guilty about all those Reeses and Kit-Kats you eat.
Middle-of-the-road Option: Mars (HRC score: 60)
While Mars doesn’t have an ERG as of yet, they are open to having one if their employees are interested in one. The company also positively engages the LGBT community, but has yet to offer any kind of diversity trainings or resources to their employees. Despite our shared love of Naya Rivera, the maker of M&Ms, Snickers and Skittles do not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression. On the plus side, they some get full points when it comes to engaging the LGBT community otherwise.
I wouldn’t recommend the Baby Ruth based on taste alone, but that’s beside the point. Nestlé has an ERG but no protections for transgender employees or those of other gender expressions, and they also don’t give full protections to domestic partners. In 2007, they aired a homophobic commercial in New Zealand, just to drive the point home.
Terrible Option: Hostess (HRC score: 15)
Hostess won’t fire you for being gay, but that’s about it. Just in case you’re the kind that prefers Twinkies to Twix, here’s a helping of some real talk: This company is not LGBT-friendly.
For some reason the makers of Mike & Ike and Peeps haven’t been included on the HRC’s Buyer’s Guide, so we’ll just have to wonder. Their website doesn’t list anything pertaining to diversity or discriminatory hiring policies. However the company was attacked by the right for being “pro-gay” and “sexualizing candy” when they announced Mike and Ike were “splitting up” during a marketing stunt last year. A Just Born rep said the two fictional candy characters were “business partners, not a couple” and they’ve since reunited.