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PepsiCo To Remove Aunt Jemima Images, Corporate America Re-Examines Brand Icons With Racist Connotations

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PepsiCo To Remove Aunt Jemima Images, Corporate America Re-Examines Brand Icons With Racist Connotations

PepsiCo Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) is changing the branding of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup after 130 years of featuring an African American woman on the packaging.

What Happened

Aunt Jemima’s branding depicts a woman inspired by the 19th-century minstrel shows. 

The woman on the label is associated with the derogatory imagery of a friendly African American in the employment of a white family as a domestic servant or nanny, according to Reuters.

On Wednesday, Quaker Oats Company, a subsidiary of Pepsi Co., said it would remove Aunt Jemima’s image from packaging throughout Q4 of 2020. The name change will be announced at a later date and will follow the first phase of packaging changes.

ConAgra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG) is also reviewing its Mrs. Butterowrth’s syrup’s branding, which features a “loving grandmother.”

A viral TikTok video labeled “How To Make A Non Racist Breakfast” by a musical artist called Kirby, featuring a package of Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix being thrown down the drain, is now trending on social media.
 

 

Uncle Ben’s rice has also announced it will “evolve” its brand. Mars Incorporated, the owner of Uncle Ben’s rice, said, “We don’t yet know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we are evaluating all possibilities.”

Why It Matters

According to Reuters, the changes in brand images that could cause offense are happening following the massive protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd.

Kristin Kroepfl, chief marketing officer at Quaker Oats, said, “We acknowledge the brand has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the confidence, warmth and dignity that we would like it to stand for today.”

On Tuesday, PepsiCo Chairman, Ramon Laguarta, announced a $400 million grant for a set of initiatives over five years to lift up “Black communities and increase Black representation at PepsiCo.”

Price Action

On Wednesday, PepsiCo shares closed mostly unchanged at $131.76. Conagra Brands shares closed 0.15% higher at $34.30.

 

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