Food brands respond to Black Lives Matter calls
Some are making donations or starting conversations within their organisations
Over the past few days, it’s likely you’ve come across loads of messages from brands and corporations responding to the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent killing of George Floyd by police. This isn’t an isolated incident. It’s been happening for years. NPR has compiled a non-comprehensive list of deaths at the hands of police in the US since Eric Garner's death in July 2014.
A lot of brands have been criticised for their responses, whether it’s L’Oreal’s ‘speaking out is worth it’ post, after they fired black trans model Munroe Bergdorf for speaking out against racism; Bristol Gin trying to use the atrocities as a cheap marketing stunt; or other generic statements lacking depth or meaningful action.
Here are a few responses from food brands in the US that go further than just a message. This could be through furthering conversations, education, or donations to anti-racist causes. Nothing can make up for what’s continuing to happen right now in the US and elsewhere, and we’re not suggesting these brand statements will immediately change the world, but we also wanted to let you know the positive things some companies are doing.
Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s has been vocal about Black Lives Matter in the past. As well as resharing a post the company made in 2016, it released another post called ‘Silence is not an option’. The ice cream company also calls for the creation of a national task force to help end racial violence, and increase police accountability, echoing George Floyd’s family.
McDonald’s president Joe Erlinger posted an open letter on LinkedIn saying the company would "provide several opportunities to discuss these issues and our commitment to diversity and inclusion". The corporation has also released a video on social media saying it will donate to the National Urban League and the NAACP.
Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO and president posted an open letter inviting Starbucks employees to join a conversation about “the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and the many other racial injustices that have shaken the entire country and each one of us. And today, on a Saturday, two thousand partners – many joined by family members — came together virtually to share stories, express emotions, and support one another as we all try to make sense of what is happening in our society.”
Taco Bell issued a white text on black background statement, said it was pausing any social media activity for a week, and that it will come up with a long-term solution. According to the company, there’s ‘more to come’.
The pizza chain issued a statement saying: “For those in this pain. For those in this fight. We stand with the Black Community against racial hate and injustice. In memory of George Floyd & in UNITY always.” The company is also giving its employees paid time off for activism.
The drinks giant took to social media today to announce it is donating to non-profit organisation 100 Black Men, which provides mentors to youths around the world.
Plant-based brand Miyoko’s Creamy announced it will donate to “organizations that support compassion, including the NAACP and Black Lives Matter.”
Gluten-free and vegan brand Emmy’s Organics will be donating 100% of its profits this week to NAACP. The company said, “As an employer and business owned by two white people, it is our responsibility to amplify the voices of those who need to be heard. Today through Wednesday we will be donating 100% of the profits from our online store to NAACP.”