Last week, Aunt Jemima, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, Inc., announced that it will be changing its name and packaging. The new packaging will begin to show up throughout Q4 of this year, and the name change will be announced at a later date.
"As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers' expectations," said Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer, Quaker Foods North America. "We recognize Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype. While 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."
Our colleagues over at Candy Industry wrote a blog post recently about other companies that will be undergoing name changes, including Beso de Negra, Red Skins, and Chicos brands (all from Nestlé), as well as Black Dinah Chocolatiers. Black Dinah was named after a local mountain, but the owner wants to change its name to avoid any "hurt or confusion."
Eskimo Pie is changing its name as well; the company, which was founded in 1921, announced that it will be changing its name and marketing. Its parent company, Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, put out a statement recently about it.
“We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is derogatory,” said Elizabell Marquez, head of marketing for Dreyer’s. “This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.”
Due to the Black Lives Matter movement, a lot of things have been undergoing name changes recently—and not just in the food industry. One of my favorite rides at Disney World and Disneyland is Splash Mountain, and it will be renamed with a Princess and the Frog theme soon. I didn't know this until this week, but Splash Mountain is based on Disney's Song of the South, a movie so racist that they don't even have it available to watch on Disney+ currently.
The movement has brought other positive things as well: PepsiCo announced that the Aunt Jemima brand will "donate a minimum of $5 million over the next five years to create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community." The company also announced an initiative over five years to "life up Black communities and increase Black representation at PepsiCo." The activities focus on three pillars—People, Business, and Communities—and you can read more about them here.
Ben & Jerry's has also been lauded in its approach to current events, publishing a "We Must Dismantle White Supremacy: Silence is NOT an option" blog post on its website.
It is heartening to see many so companies doing the right thing and updating their brand names, packaging, and even attitudes.