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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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How ethical is Maryland?

Maryland is a biscuit brand which has a below-benchmark score on The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Biscuits Ratings Table. Although Maryland has not yet met our ethical benchmark, we hope to see the brand make progress in the future.

We would have extra confidence in Maryland if it applied  for Ethical Accreditation, whereby The Good Shopping Guide would make further detailed assessment and recommendations for ethical improvement. Find out more about the ethical issues facing the Biscuits sector.

What does Maryland do?

Maryland cookies were first produced by Lyons in 1956 through its Blackpool subsidiary Symbol Biscuits. Over 12 billion Maryland Cookies are sold within Europe each year. The brand is now owned by Ferrero S.p.A.

In which areas does Maryland perform poorly?

Maryland was marked down under our criteria for GMO and Palm Oil, as the brand uses both (the palm oil is RSPO) in its products. In recent election cycles, Maryland’s parent company, Ferrero, donated over $27K which is above our threshold, so the brand receives a middle rating. Maryland gets a low score for our Vegetarian criterion due to a lack of certification. Find out more about how we rate by exploring our ethical criteria.

Past Criticisms of Maryland’s record

Ferrero has faced numerous criticisms in the past relating to poor treatment of its workers and possible use of child labour. Ferrero was also named by Break Free From Plastic as South America’s third worst plastic polluter. In 2022 a complaint was filed against Ferrero relating to E. Coli and Salmonella outbreaks, and Foodwatch France lists seven offences of endangering the lives of others.

In which areas does Maryland score well for its ethics?

Maryland’s parent company, Ferrero, has a Sustainability Report with targets for carbon emissions and packaging, which also includes evidence of progress, so Maryland gets a good score for its Environmental Report.

We found no criticisms of Maryland relating to Nuclear, Fossil Fuels, Animal Welfare, or Armaments, so it scores well for these criteria.

How can Maryland improve its ethical rating?

The below-benchmark score that Maryland is awarded with on The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Biscuits Ratings Table is the result of an evaluation of multiple ethical criteria.

To reach our minimum ethical benchmark and qualify for Ethical Accreditation, Maryland has some issues to resolve, including its use of palm oil and GMOs. If it applies for Ethical Accreditation, The Good Shopping Guide will be able to give Maryland some guidance on how to improve its score.

Were you aware that your brand could benefit from Ethical Accreditation? Brands accredited by The Good Shopping Guide can display our Ethical Mark, showcasing to consumers that it is an ethical and sustainable brand. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us or complete a Free Initial Assessment form.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power


  • Fossil Fuels


  • Palm Oil Free



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegetarian/Vegan Verified



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


  • Public Record Criticisms+


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating