Increasingly, large companies are aware of the importance of inclusion and representation towards the market of LGBTIQ+ people. This transition has sometimes taken place out of ideological conviction, but in many other cases, it is a simple business model focused on a market with consumers with purchasing power and willingness to spend on items that, due to life trajectories, are less accessible to other people. On the subject of life trajectory, it is assumed that the LGBTQI+ community is more likely to spend on other things since most decide not to have children – who bear a significant part of the cost – a fact that is gradually changing. However, behind all these assumptions, there are a series of facts that reveal that inclusion must be done in a structural way and not just as a “fashion” or an empty speech, politically correct, to approach a community that could report high income.
It is even the subject of parody on social networks, how brands, for example food, in Pride month, change their packaging by adding a rainbow. Adding a rainbow to packaging for sandwiches, chips, drinks, or any other product doesn’t make it inclusive. In the same way, assuming that certain types of products and services are especially aimed at the LGBTIQ+ community may have an implicit prejudice. On the subject of food, one of the most common prejudices is assuming that the community is more willing to consume luxury or exclusive food products, or that heterosexual women and gay men are the only ones who could have an interest in culinary issues. The preference for certain types of food or the taste for cooking are just stereotypes based on traditional roles of the feminine and the masculine.
Some companies have invested in trying to understand the perception of their product within the community, in order to make the necessary adjustments to their marketing strategy. However, underestimating the consumer to the point where they feel like they were included by the brand only when it’s pride month can backfire.
In addition, there is a crucial point in the issue of reputation towards the inclusion of companies that produce products and services: there must be consistency not only in what is sold, but also in the day-to-day practices in the operation of a company that is truly inclusive with its employees regardless of their orientation. Thanks to community activists, these discriminatory practices are exposed to a greater extent and the LGBTIQ+ community has organized itself to boycott certain companies or characters that have fallen into discrimination issues.
Plus, inclusivity goes beyond putting rainbows on packaging. If recently there was a controversy over including a gay couple in a Disney movie, it seems that the days are long gone when homoparental families are portrayed on a daily basis to promote a product, especially those that appeal to happiness and family ties. as is commonly the case with food advertisements. Although great progress has been made on issues of inclusion, there are still great prejudices and stereotypes that represent a challenge for true representativeness. The more genuine the approaches to inclusion, the better the products are perceived by the community.
Food and society columnist
POINT AND HOW
Food and society columnist. Gastronaut, observer and foodie. She is a researcher in sociology of food, nutritionist. She is president and founder of Funalid: Foundation for Food and Development.