Aunt Jemima, the breakfast syrup that’s been around for more than 130 years, is undergoing a full rebrand and name change, the Quaker Oats Company, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, Inc, announced today. After the murder of George Floyd by police officers that sparked Black Lives Matter protests in every corner of America, many people have taken to social media to call out brands whose practices and designs have long perpetuated racist sterotypes. In the wake of this, Aunt Jemima customers had recently—and not for the first time—called for change at the company, where the image and character, at the forefront of the table syrup’s logo and ideology, preserves racial insensitivities that date back to slavery.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, the Quaker Foods North America vice president and CMO said in a press release. “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.”
Quaker Oats admitted that while Aunt Jemima has existed for over a hundred years, the brand has not advanced enough for current standards. The team has committed to overhauling the entire design of Aunt Jemima products, with new imagery being unveiled in stores during the fourth quarter of 2020. The name, which is expected to change, has yet to be announced.
“We are starting by removing the image and changing the name,” Kroepfl said. “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.”
Along with the redesign, Aunt Jemima has pledged to donate a minimum of $5 million during the next five years in an effort to spark support and engagement in the Black community.
Header image courtesy of The Quaker Oats Company.