PepsiCo has unveiled the new name for Aunt Jemima products after it vowed to remove the branding that had donned its pancake mix and syrup varieties for more than 130 years as protests raged nationwide against racial inequality and police brutality.
PepsiCo, which acquired the Quaker Oats Company in 2001, announced in a release Tuesday that the Aunt Jemima maple syrup bottles and boxes of pancake mix will be rebranded under the name of Pearl Milling Company.
The U.S. conglomerate said it plans for the new packaging to arrive on store shelves in June, one year after it announced the launch of its rebranding effort.
PepsiCo said it would change the Aunt Jemima brand, which had been the recipient of criticism for years, weeks after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, on Memorial Day, spurring thousands in anger to take to the streets in protest against police brutality and racial inequality.
Kristin Kroepfl, the head of marketing at Quaker, said in June that they understand the racial stereotype origins of their product and would work to ensure the items they sell reflect the company’s values.
“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,” Kroepfl said.
Aunt Jemima products will continue to be present in stores until June but without the eponymous character donning the packaging, it said.
“Throughout the effort that led to the new Pearl Milling Company name, 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,” it said.
The Pearl Milling Company, founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Mo., was the originator of the pancake mix that would become Aunt Jemima, Pepsi said.
PepsiCo also pledged $5 million in June to support the Black community and said Tuesday it will soon announce details concerning its $1 million commitment to “empower and uplift Black girls and women.”
In September, Mars Foods announced that it had changed its Uncle Ben’s rice brand to Ben’s Original due to the product’s racial imagery.
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