The long-awaited new name and logo to replace Quaker Oats' Aunt Jemima brand has been revealed.
What are the details?
PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, issued a statement Tuesday announcing that beginning in June, Aunt Jemima products will be replaced on store shelves under the name Pearl Milling Company in a nod to the company responsible for developing the roots of the product line that would rise to infamy.
"Though new to store shelves, Pearl Milling Company was founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and was the originator of the iconic self-rising pancake mix that would later become known as Aunt Jemima," the news release read.
The Quaker Oats Company signed the contract to purchase the Aunt Jemima brand in 1925. It updated its image over the years in a manner intended to remove racial stereotypes that dated back to the brand origins. In June 2020, the company announced it was transitioning from the Aunt Jemima name and likeness on packaging and pledged a $5 million commitment to support the Black community.
PepsiCo went on to note:
In the coming weeks, Pearl Milling Company will also announce the details of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women, inviting the community to visit its website and nominate non-profit organizations for an opportunity to receive grants to further that mission. This is in addition to PepsiCo's more than $400 million, five-year investment to uplift Black business and communities, and increase Black representation at PepsiCo.
NBC News reported that "for years, the 130-year-old brand featured a Black woman named Aunt Jemima, who was originally dressed as a minstrel character, on its products," noting that "the image changed over time, and in recent years, Quaker removed the 'mammy' kerchief from the character in an attempt to address criticism that it perpetuated a racist stereotype dating to the days of slavery."
What's the background?
Last summer, amid outrage over the death of George Floyd in late May, Quaker Oats announced Aunt Jemima would be rebranded.
Vice President Kristin Kroepfl said, "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 firm joined a slew of other companies in changing its branding in reaction to protests over police brutality and calls for racial justice, including Mars Inc., which scrapped the longtime name and logo of Uncle Ben's products for similar reasons.