Heniz shrugs off gay boycott with soaring sales figures

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Despite a boycott organised by gay rights group Stonewall, Heinz, saw earnings in the most recent quarter increase by $229 million (£123m). It was slammed by gay rights groups for pulling a television advertisement featuring two men kissing.

The company achieved a record share of the UK soup market during the period, taking a 63.5 per cent share.

Heinz Europe sales increased 20% in part due to an increase in promotional activities and advertising.

Last month, PinkNews.co.uk reported Heinz’s decision to pull a TV advertisement featuring a gay kiss after 215 people complained.

This resulted in a furious backlash from gay rights campaigners, LGBT media and politicians.

Thousands signed online petitions calling for the advert to be reinstated.

Gay equality organisation Stonewall called for a ethical purchasing policy when it comes to Heinz goods and protested at Pride London that “Beanz Meanz Bigots,” a play on the slogan “Beanz Meanz Heinz.”

At the time Heinz said:”The advertisement was intended to be humorous, not designed to cause offence to anyone.

“Clearly it failed in its intent to amuse and that is why we took the decision to withdraw it.”

Commenting on an 11 per cent increase in profits in the first quater of 2008, Heinz Chief Executive, William R Johnson said: “Heinz is off to a strong start in the fiscal year, with excellent growth in first-quarter sales.

“We achieved record organic sales growth, reflecting the strength of our Top 15 brands, dynamic growth in our Emerging Markets, higher marketing investments and benefits from increased focus on products for healthier lifestyles.”