/Aunt Jemima is changing its name and mascot due to racial stereotypes – Business Insider

Aunt Jemima is changing its name and mascot due to racial stereotypes – Business Insider


  • Aunt Jemima is changing its name and losing its mascot of a Black woman that has been criticized for years for its roots in racism and minstrelsy. 
  • Parent company PepsiCo said new packaging will hit shelves late this year and that the brand’s new name will follow soon after. 
  • “We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, Quaker Foods North America’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. 
  • Land O’Lakes removed the drawing of a Native American woman on its packaging earlier this year, while Uncle Ben’s says it is planning on “evolving” the rice brand. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Aunt Jemima is changing its name and losing its brand image of a Black woman, as parent company PepsiCo acknowledges the pancake brand’s racist roots.

PepsiCo announced the change on Wednesday, saying that packaging without the Aunt Jemima mascot will hit shelves in the fourth quarter of this year. The brand’s new name will be announced at a later date, quickly following the first phase of new packaging. 

“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, Quaker Foods North America’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “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.”

The Aunt Jemima brand has been criticized for years. The inspiration for the name was a minstrel song and the brand continued to be linked to racism in the eyes of many. 

“This Aunt Jemima logo was 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,” Riché Richardson wrote in The New York Times in 2015.

In 1989, Quaker Oats rolled out a more “contemporary” look for Aunt Jemima — the sixth makeover that attempted to distance the mascot from the brand’s racist roots. At the time, Quaker Oats said it would not be renaming the brand, with a spokesperson saying that Aunt Jemima’s “familiarity and recognition is an invaluable asset.”

Brands are being forced to confront their racist roots

land lakes

Land O’ Lakes is changing its packaging.


Flickr/Mike Mozart



Now, PepsiCo has decided that Aunt Jemima’s “familiarity” is worth sacrificing. Kroepfl said that the company acknowledges the brand “has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the confidence, warmth, and
dignity that we would like it to stand for today.” 

On Tuesday, PepsiCo announced that it would invest $400 million over five years to address inequality and create opportunities for Black communities. 

Earlier this year, Land O’Lakes removed the drawing of a Native American woman on its packaging. Rice brand Uncle Ben’s has faced similar criticism to Aunt Jemima, due to the name’s roots in white Southerners calling older Black people “aunt” and “uncle” instead of “Mr.” or “Mrs.”  

Uncle Ben’s parent company Mars Food told Business Insider in a statement that it does not “know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we are evaluating all possibilities.” 

“As a global brand, we know we have a responsibility to take a stand in helping to put an end to racial bias and injustices,” Mars said in a statement. “As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the Black community, and to the voices of our Associates worldwide, we recognize that one way we can do this is by evolving the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity.” 

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