PepsiCo said it will stop using the Aunt Jemima brand because of racism-related criticism. Other food companies are reviewing their brands.
Martinne Geller reported the news for Reuters:
PepsiCo Inc (PEP.O) said on Wednesday it will change the name and brand image of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup, dropping a mascot that has been criticized for a racist history, amid a national debate over racial inequality in the United States.
The logo of the more than 130-year-old brand features an African-American woman named after a character from 19th-century minstrel shows. The offensive caricature is rooted in a stereotype of a friendly black woman working as a servant or nanny for a white family.
Ben Kesslen from NBC News wrote:
The Aunt Jemima brand of syrup and pancake mix will get a new name and image, Quaker Oats announced Wednesday, saying the company recognizes that “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”
The picture has changed over time, and in recent years Quaker removed the “mammy” kerchief from the character to blunt growing criticism that the brand perpetuated a racist stereotype that dated to the days of slavery.
Jordan Valinsky from CNN noted:
Uncle Ben’s owner Mars also said Wednesday that “now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do,” adding that “we don’t yet know what the exact changes and timing will be, but we are evaluating all possibilities.”
And Conagra, which makes Mrs. Butterworth’s, said it will conduct a complete brand and packaging review on the syrup brand. Conagra noted it “can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values.”