Aunt Jemima to get new name as PepsiCo concedes ‘racial stereotype’

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(Bloomberg) – The Aunt Jemima brand will be phased out – and that of Uncle Ben and Ms Butterworth could follow suit – as nationwide protests prompt companies to suddenly rely on institutionalized racism. PepsiCo Inc. plans to change the name of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix. and syrup, acknowledging that the 131-year-old brand is rooted in racially problematic tropes. The company’s Quaker Oats unit will also remove the image of a black woman from its packaging and marketing from the fourth quarter, according to a statement. “We recognize that Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, Director of Marketing. of Quaker Foods North America, said in the statement. “While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a proper and respectful manner, we realize that these changes are not enough. systemic racism in business and in society in general. Many companies have donated, pledged to increase the hiring of black workers, and have taken other steps to support the black community in the wake of protests sparked by the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis this month. last. Mars Inc., which owns the Uncle Ben’s brand of rice, said it is “assessing all possibilities” regarding changes to its product line, which features the image of a smiling black man. “We recognize that now is the time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual identity, which we will do,” he said in a statement. Likewise, Conagra Brands Inc. has announced a “complete branding and packaging review” for its Ms. Butterworth syrup, which comes in a bottle shaped like a woman. The original design was said to have been based on the black actress who played “Prissy,” a maid in Gone with the Wind. This film was temporarily removed from the HBO Max lineup recently due to its racist themes. “We stand in solidarity with our black and brown communities and we can see that our packaging can be interpreted in a way that is totally inconsistent with our values,” Conagra said in a statement. B&G Foods said it is launching an immediate review of its cream of wheat packaging, responding to concerns expressed about a black man’s “chef” image. assess our packaging and take proactive steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism, ”the company said in a statement. “B&G Foods unequivocally opposes prejudices and injustices of all kinds. “Long overdue” Aunt Jemima’s change “is not only welcome in the world of retail brands, but it is long overdue,” James O’Rourke, professor of management at the University of the Notre Dame business school said via email. The brand’s reputation “has been built on a racial and cultural stereotype that is widely viewed as offensive. Other brands associated with non-white characters could face a similar backlash, O’Rourke said. This year, butter maker Land O’Lakes decided to remove the image of a Native American woman from its products. Aunt Jemima’s name dates back to 1889 and was inspired by a song and character from a minstrel show, featuring white performers with black faces. The appearance of Aunt Jemima’s character has changed over the years, removing a scarf and adding pearl earrings. In 1994, Gladys Knight appeared in an advertisement for the syrup. The shifting traits suggest brand managers recognized the character could be offensive, O’Rourke said. “But the effect, because of the name, is the same. »Growing review and a link to a video review of the character. Singer Kirby’s viral music video, titled “How to Make Breakfast Non-Racist,” has millions of views online. PepsiCo also said Tuesday it would donate $ 400 million over five years to promote racial equality. The Aunt Jemima brand will specifically donate $ 5 million over this period. “As we work to advance racial equality through several initiatives, we also need to carefully review our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values ​​and meet our consumers’ expectations,” Kroepfl said. PepsiCo is Aunt Jemima’s owner since buying Quaker Oats in 2001. The name change will be announced at a later date, the company said. (Updates with immediate packaging review by B&G Foods in the ninth paragraph.) us on bloomberg.com © 2020 Bloomberg LP


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