Aunt Jemima Announces New Name Following Racism Backlash
It has been a long time coming, but the much-loved Aunt Jemima products finally have a new name.
Quaker Oats announced the news yesterday.
The name “Aunt Jemima” is being replaced with the Pearl Milling Company name and logo. The parent company is PepsiCo.
“We are starting a new day with Pearl Milling Company,” a PepsiCo spokesperson said. “A new day rooted in the brand’s historic beginnings and its mission to create moments that matter at the breakfast table.”
The brand found itself at the centre of a racism row after the BLM movement and the death of George Floyd last year.
A singer named KIRBY posted a TikTok video that examined the history of the branding, titled “How To Make A Non Racist Breakfast.”
She ends the post by saying, “Black lives matter, people, even over breakfast.”
When the news of the rebranding was announced last year, KIRBY told NBC News she felt “a sense of relief knowing that my future children will not grow up in a world where their ancestors’ oppression is insensitively used as a marketing tool on a box. I hope that other brands swiftly follow suit,” she said.
The brand name and logo trademarks for Pearl Milling Company were purchased on February 1. The move was spotted by trademark attorney Josh Gerben of Gerben Perrott, PLLC in Washington DC.
Gerben told CNN Business on Tuesday: “We’ve been looking for it ever since they made the announcement,”
The changeover is expected to happen in June.
As well as Aunt Jemima, the likes of Uncle Ben’s, Cream of Wheat and Mrs. Butterworth’s have all announced redesigns in the last 12 months. It comes in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘Pearl Milling Company’
According to PepsiCo, The Pearl Milling Company is the name of the late-19th-century business that created the original ready-made pancake mix.
The company was founded back in 1888 by Chris L. Rutt.
Replacing the logo of Aunt Jemima is what looks like a 19th-century watermill, where flour was once ground. The brand’s red, white and yellow colour scheme still remains.
PepsiCo said: “This name is a nod to where our delicious products began before becoming a family-favourite breakfast staple,”
“While the Aunt Jemima brand was updated over the years in a manner intended to remove racial stereotypes, it has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the dignity, respect and warmth that we stand for today.”
“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,” the company said.
PepsiCo first announced the news of the rebrand back in June 2020. Shortly afterwards, the Mars food company announced it was changing the name and logo of Uncle Ben’s rice. They later changed the name to Ben’s Original.
As well as changing the branding, PepsiCo said Pearl Milling Company will also announce an annual $1 million commitment. This fund will be used to empower Black girls and women in the coming weeks.
The company said this $1 million is in addition to PepsiCo’s $400 million, five-year commitment to the Black community.
“The commitment we’re making is a reflection of our broader PepsiCo values of diversity and inclusion and support of the Black community,” PepsiCo said.
Do you think it’s right to change the name?
Image via Alamy
Jen is an experienced journalist, writer and radio presenter with an undying love for leopard print, houseplants, ridiculous tattoos and loud music.