A quintessential breakfast staple for many, Aunt Jemima now has a new look, logo, and name. The rebranding follows criticism that the company’s 130-year-old logo was rooted in minstrel and racist stereotypes.
The PepsiCo-owned brand will now be known as the Pearl Milling Company. New product packaging on its pancake mixes and syrups will hit shelves in June. (Bonus good news: The company carries a number of vegan-friendly breakfast items, including its original pancake mix, and syrup.)
In June 2020—following the murder of George Floyd, a Black man killed while in police custody, and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests—the company announced it would transition away from using the Aunt Jemima name and imagery. In the last quarter of 2020, the company removed the image of Aunt Jemima from its products
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, Quaker Foods’ vice president and 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,” Kroepfl continued.
The new branding pays homage to the mill, Pearl Milling Company, founded in 1888, that initially began manufacturing the self-rising pancake mix. Quaker Oats purchased the Aunt Jemima brand in 1925.
The company’s red packaging will remain the same. However, products now feature the new name and an updated logo to replace the Aunt Jemima character image.
Brands Ditch Racist Packaging
Aunt Jemima isn’t the first company to change its racist branding.
In July 2020, Thug Kitchen revealed it had changed its name to Bad Manners. The vegan brand received criticism due to the moniker’s racial stereotyping.
Mrs. Butterworth revealed it would undergo a complete brand and packaging review to help eliminate racial bias.
And Uncle Ben’s parent company, Mars, announced it would be changing the name and logo of its rice and grain brand, which also perpetuated racial stereotypes, to Ben’s Original.
“As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the Black community, and to the voices of our Associates worldwide, we recognize that now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand,” Caroline Sherman, Mars’ VP Corporate Communications, said in a statement.