Quaker Oats is retiring the more than 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo, acknowledging its origins are based on a racial stereotype.
“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,” the Pepsi-owned company said in a statement provided to CNN Business.
Aunt Jemima’s appearance has evolved over time. The brand’s origin and logo is based off the song “Old Aunt Jemima” from a minstrel show performer and reportedly sung by slaves. The company’s website said the logo started in 1890 and was based on Nancy Green, a “storyteller, cook and missionary worker.” However, the website fails to mention Green was born into slavery.
The news was first reported by NBC News.
After a nationwide reckoning on race following the death of George Floyd in police custody, some companies are making changes.
Uncle Ben’s owner Mars also said Wednesday that “now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do,” adding that “we don’t yet know what the exact changes and timing will be, but we are evaluating all possibilities.”
And Conagra, which makes Mrs. Butterworth’s, said it will conduct a complete brand and packaging review on the syrup brand. Conagra noted it “can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values.”
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SOURCE: CNN, Jordan Valinsky