Pasta company chairman Guido Barilla, who offended millions of gay people by saying he would never feature a gay couple in his company’s adverts, has apologised for offence caused and offered to meet ‘representatives of the groups that best represent the evolution of the family, including those who have been offended.’

The man who owns the Barilla pasta brand was reported yesterday as saying, ‘I would never make a spot with a homosexual family. Not out of a lack of respect but because I don’t see it like they do. (My idea of) family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role.

‘We have a different concept with regard to the gay family. For us, the concept of the sacred family remains a fundamental value of the company.’

When the hosts mentioned that gay people also eat pasta, Barilla replied: ‘That’s fine if they like our pasta and our communication, they can eat them. Otherwise they can eat another pasta. You can’t always please everyone.’

Following social media outrage and a threat of boycott, Barilla’s marketing department in the US sprang into action, commenting that they ‘care about everyone, regardless of race, religion, belief, gender or sexual orientation.’

‘We value and respect a family that includes everyone. As stated in our strategy document, we promote diversity of all kinds.’

As if they could see spaghetti, tagliatelle and fusilli eaters worldwide defect to rival brands – or worse, actually switch to other forms of carbohydrate – they said: ‘To all our friends, family, employees and partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.’

It is not known if the company chairman was sent to his bedroom without any supper as punishment.