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Aunt Jemima brand, image to be dropped, PepsiCo announces

Acknowledging ‘racial stereotype,’ company announces new Quaker packaging will appear later this year

Thomson Reuters · Posted: Jun 17, 2020

PepsiCo Inc will change the name and brand image of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup, it said on Wednesday, dropping a mascot criticized for a racist history.

The logo of the more than 130-year-old brand features an African American woman named after a character from 19th-century minstrel shows. The offensive caricature is rooted in a stereotype of a friendly Black woman working as a servant or a nanny for a white family.

The brand has faced social media backlash and calls for a boycott in recent days, amid widespread protests over racism in the United States after the death of George Floyd, a Black man, in police custody in Minneapolis.

“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” said Kristin Kroepfl, vice-president and chief marketing officer, Quaker Foods North America, in a statement.

“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.”

A new name and logo were not announced, though Quaker said packages without the Aunt Jemima image will start appearing in the fourth quarter of 2020.

PepsiCo also announced on Tuesday a set of initiatives worth more than $400 million US over five years to support black communities and increase black representation at PepsiCo.

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