Wondering which brands have donated to Trump or Biden ahead of the 2020 election? These food and drink companies have made their choice clear ahead of 2020.
America reminds me of the Ray-Bans I got for my birthday last year right now: Fully polarized and totally lost. A stark divide in political proclivities has colored everything, from how much the uber-rich should pay in taxes to whether or not we ought to wear masks in public during an, um, deadly pandemic. (Cool, cool, cool).
Yes, everyone seems to have an opinion about everything and no fewer than 14 channels through which to express them. Despite the common practice for businesses to keep a clean nose when it comes to politics, all bets are off in 2020 and some food and drink brands have picked sides in the big election battle.
While it’s true that most food brands continue to keep a low profile during election season, as not to turn off consumers, a few big-name food brands and personalities have made their political leanings clear. Whether through some form of public endorsement or cash donations to Trump, Biden, and other partisan causes, the following brands and influential food folk have jumped into the political fight ahead of November’s election.
Brands Support or Donate to Trump & Republicans
Perhaps the noisiest of all the food brand endorsements this election cycle, GOYA Foods CEO Robert Unanue appeared in a Trump press conference back in July, praising the controversial leader. The Hispanic-owned brand quickly received backlash and boycotts, led by Latinx Americans, many of whom felt betrayed by the alignment with a president who’s been criticized for racist rhetoric and legislation.
Outrage erupted back in 2018 when it was revealed the cult-favorite West Coast fast food chain donated to the California GOP in a public filing. But Los Angeles Magazine’s Brittany Martin noted that “It’s certainly not the first In-N-Out Republican contribution. The fast-food chain has a long history of donating to political causes. In 2017 and 2016, the company donated $30,000 per year to the California GOP for general party expenses.”
Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs
A few years back, the Chairman of Nathan’s hot dogs hosted a very public fundraiser for Trump at his Southampton home. A swift backlash took hold with fans of the Coney Island hot dog chain vowing to ditch the historic wiener brand for good.
According to fact-check website Snopes, “the New England-based pharmacy-store chain CVS and the company’s associated PAC donated hundreds of thousands of dollars toward political causes supporting President Donald Trump.”
Las Vegas Sands Hotel Group (The Venetian, The Sands, Marina Bay Sands)
Sheldon Adelson, founder and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Group is one of the biggest campaign contributor to Donald Trump. The magnate recently signaled he would spend up to 50 million dollars of his hotel and casino fortune to help Trump win re-election in November.
Brands That Support or Donate to Biden and Democrats
According to several sources including Business Insider, Jacqueline Mars, heiress to the Mars family fortune, a fairly conservative bunch historically, gave to the Democratic super-PAC supporting Joe Biden. Mars is most associated with candy bar brands like Snickers, Twix, and Mars Bars, but the conglomerate now also owns several savory food and petcare brands including Uncle Bens and Pedigree.
Wonderful Brands (Fiji Water, Pom Wonderful, JUSTIN Wines)
Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the billionaire owners of Wonderful Brands, have donated to the Joe Biden campaign directly, according to opensecrets.org, as well as PACs supporting the former vice president. That’s not all: The couple recently pledged $750 million to the fight against climate change, and, as the owners of several susceptible wineries including JUSTIN Vineyards, they have plenty of reason to care.
Hard Rock Cafe
According to Progressive Shopper, a startup that tracks donations to political causes by brands, the rock and roll-themed restaurant has made 100 percent of its donations—more than $130,000—to Democratic candidates.
Cravings by Chrissy Teigen
You need only sign on to Twitter for a few scrolls to see where this social media icon and food personality stands on the 2020 campaign. A frequent, let’s say, “critic” of Trump, Chrissy Teigen and her singer husband John Legend have been staunch supporters of Biden ever since he won the nomination. Teigen has a growing empire of Cravings cookware (available at Target), cookbooks, and a brand new food-focused website she launched earlier this year.
Ina Garten isn’t hiding her political leanings in 2020. The queens of Hampton’s entertaining held a virtual fundraiser for Joe Biden just last month, according to People Magazine. Even virtually, I’m sure it was a most fabulous affair.
Brands Supporting Get Out the Vote Efforts (Neutral)
The coffee mega-chain is not only giving its employees the time off they need to vote, according to CNBC but has also made information on getting registered to vote available to customers via the brand’s user app.
According to packaging strategies, Coca-Cola brand Peace Tea is encouraging consumers to “Speak Your Peace” in the upcoming election through a partnership with Vote.org.
The healthy fast-casual salad chain has taken several steps to promote voter turnout. According to Forbes, “Sweetgreen is providing up to three hours of paid time off for all hourly employees both on Election Day and for early voting. The company also created a custom Sweetgreen registration portal that is accessible by QR code and via multiple touchpoints in its restaurants.”
Absolut Vodka previously launched a non-partisan, integrated #VoteResponsibly’ campaign which encourages customers to “Vote First, Drink Second.” Pernod-Ricard, the parent company of Absolut, is also giving its employees paid time off to vote in 2020.
*According to the Federal Election Commission, corporations themselves can’t donate directly to candidates or races, but they are able to make donations to and establish political action committees (PACs) and make donations to other outside groups. Private citizens, including founders and CEOs, are free to make political donations at will.
Header image courtesy fo Goya Foods.