(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Mars, Inc. said the product branding for Uncle Ben’s rice will “evolve,” while Quaker Oats said it will discontinue the Aunt Jemima pancake and syrup brand to fight racism, WCNC reported.
Mars, which owns Uncle Ben’s, issued a statement on the product’s brand evolution.
“We know we have a responsibility to take a stand in helping to put an end to racial bias and injustices,” the statement said. “We stand in solidarity with the Black community, our Associates and our partners in the fight for social justice. We know to make the systemic change needed, it’s going to take a collective effort from all of us.”
Leftists have targeted Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima as vestiges of slavery in America, Newsweek reported.
Aunt Jemima supposedly portrays a “mammy” caricature of a black woman who happily serves her white masters and neglects her own family.
The name also refers to a song called “Old Aunt Jemima,” which white men would sometimes perform while their skin was tinted black.
The attacks on the song often do not mention that Billy Kersands, a black comedian and dancer, wrote “Old Aunt Jemima.”
PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, said the Aunt Jemima brand is “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,” said Kristin Kroepfl of Quaker Foods North America.
The newly branded pancake mix and syrup will replace the Aunt Jemima product brand in the fourth quarter of 2020. Quaker has not yet announced the product’s new name.
As part of the company’s atonement, PepsiCo will spend $400 million over 5 years “to lift up black communities and increase black representation at PepsiCo.”
(Adweek) PepsiCo said it will drop the image of Aunt Jemima and rebrand the line of pancake mix and syrup that has borne the name since 1889.
The parent of Quaker Oats Company, which has owned the brand since 1926, did not specify what the new name will be or what the updated packaging will look like.
“We are starting by removing the image and changing the name,” said Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, in a statement. “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.”
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kroepfl added. “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.”