Posts tagged with "Aunt Jemima"

Aunt Jemima has a new name after 131 years: The Pearl Milling Company

February 11, 2021

It has been a go-to pancake mix and syrup in American households for more than a century—but also has long faced criticism that its Aunt Jemima name and likeness are rooted in racist imagery.

Now, all that has changed: The brand has a new name—The Pearl Milling Company—The New York Times reports.

In an announcement on Tuesday, February 10, by PepsiCo—which owns the former Aunt Jemima’s parent company, Quaker Oats— the line formally began rebranding itself and moved one step closer to permanently abandoning its 131-year-old moniker.

The new name comes from the milling company in St. Joseph, Missouri, that pioneered the self-rising pancake mix that became known as Aunt Jemima, according to PepsiCo, which said the rebranded products would arrive in stores in June.

The change has been in the works since last June—after the killing of George Floyd on May 25 by Minneapolis cops catalyzed widespread protests over racial injustice, The New York Times notes. Several large food companies came under fire for using racial stereotypes, including Quaker Oats, which said it would drop the Aunt Jemima name, redesign its packaging, and pledge $5 million to support the Black community.

The company unveiled a redesigned website for its line of Aunt Jemima products on Tuesday, saying “it was the start of a new day.”

“Last June, PepsiCo and The Quaker Oats Company made a commitment to change the name and image of Aunt Jemima, recognizing that they do not reflect our core values,” the company said on the website.

Products with the Aunt Jemima name will continue to be available until June—but without the picture of the Aunt Jemima character’s face, according to PepsiCo, which said in a news release that the company sought input on the new name.

“Throughout the effort that led to the new Pearl Milling Company name, Quaker worked with consumers, employees, external cultural and subject-matter experts, and diverse agency partners to gather broad perspectives and ensure the new brand was developed with inclusivity in mind,” PepsiCo said.

In addition to the rebranding, the newly established Pearl Milling Company also said on Tuesday that it was making a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women. The money is in addition to a $400 million, five-year investment to support Black business and communities, and increase Black representation at PepsiCo, the company said.

The Aunt Jemima character has roots in a 19th-century minstrel song that expressed nostalgia for the antebellum South. Quaker Oats replaced the kerchief on the Aunt Jemima character’s head with a plaid headband in 1968 and added pearl earrings and a lace collar in 1989.

Research contact: @nytimes

Aunt Jemima brand to change name and image over ‘racial stereotype’

June 18, 2020

In the spirit of Black Lives Matter, Quaker Oats—the manufacturer of the syrup and pancake brand, Aunt Jemima, has acknowledged that the brand’s origins were “based on a racial stereotype.” The company now intends to change the name and image on its packaging, The New York Times reports.

The brand, founded in 1889, is built on images of a black female character that often been have been seen as a symbol of slavery. Aunt Jemima has gone through several redesigns; pearl earrings and a lace collar were added in 1989.

On Wednesday, Quaker Oats, which is owned by PepsiCo, said that it was taking “a hard look at our portfolio of brands” as it works “to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives.”

The packaging changes, which were first reported by NBC, will begin to appear toward the end of this year, with the name change coming soon after.

“Whle work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough,” said Kristin Kroepfl, Quaker’s chief marketing officer, in a statement.

The Aunt Jemima brand was inspired by a minstrel song called “Old Aunt Jemima” and was once described by Riché Richardson, an associate professor of African-American literature at Cornell University, as “an outgrowth of Old South plantation nostalgia and romance grounded in an idea about the ‘mammy,’ a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own.”

Last week, the glorified depiction of slavery in “Gone With the Wind,” which included a portrayal of an affable black character named Mammy, led HBO Max to temporarily remove the film from its catalog–before bringing it back with an explanatory forward, the Times notes.

Quaker Oats said in its statement that Aunt Jemima’s marketing had “evolved over time with the goal of representing loving moms from diverse backgrounds who want the best for their families,” but that it would gather more perspectives internally and from the black community to further shape the brand.

Research contact: @nytimes