Quaker Oats to Rename 'Aunt Jemima' for 'Progress Toward Racial Equality'
Brand to scrap logo and change name 'based on a racial stereotype'
Quaker Oats has announced it will rename and rebrand its pancake brand Aunt Jemima following an online backlash due to the name being "based on a racial stereotype."
Quaker, the company behind the “Aunt Jemima” brand of syrup and other breakfast foods, said Wednesday it will rename this line of products and scrap the logo, which includes an image of a black woman, “to make progress toward racial equality.”
The Aunt Jemima name and image have been featured on these products for 130 years.
However, Aunt Jemima will soon debut a new look, as part of Quaker’s push for “racial equality,” after the company acknowledged that the face of the brand was “based on a racial stereotype.”
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype," Quaker's vice president and chief marketing officer, Kristin Kroepfl, said in a statement.
“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."
Kroepfl added that while the parent company has tried to “update” the Aunt Jemima brand through the years to be “appropriate and respectful,” the time has come to scrap the current product in favor of a complete makeover.
"We acknowledge the brand has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the confidence, warmth, and dignity that we would like it to stand for today,” Kroepfl stressed.
"We are starting by removing the image and changing the name.
"We will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand and make it one everyone can be proud to have in their pantry.”
The 130-year-old breakfast brand’s logo features a black woman named Aunt Jemima, who was once dressed as a minstrel character.
The logo has evolved over time, with Quaker dropping Aunt Jemima’s kerchief in recent years, per NBC News.
Following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, however, social media critics denounced Aunt Jemima’s problematic history and demanded that Quaker make a change.
The new packaging will be unveiled in fall 2020, with the product line’s new name revealed at a later date.
Through the next five years, Quaker said, the food conglomerate will donate at least $5 million to "to create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community."
Earlier this year, Land O' Lakes removed the "racist" image of a Native American woman from its packaging, a logo featured on the butter brand's label for nearly 100 years.