These Brands Are Reevaluating Their Racist Names and Packaging

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In the span of just a few weeks, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth's, Cream of Wheat, and Eskimo Pie all vowed to reevaluate their brand’s marketing and/or name in an effort to acknowledge their racist roots.

In response to the police killing of George Floyd in May, the country has undergone a reckoning with ongoing protests against police brutality and racial inequality. Additionally, many brands and individuals are being held accountable for their parts in furthering systemic racism.

Last month, Quaker Oats, the subsidiary of PepsiCo that produces Aunt Jemima products, said it would be changing their syrup packaging — which they acknowledged is based on a “racial stereotype” — and vowed to “take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations.”

Following suit, Mars, the parent company of Uncle Ben’s, said they’d be “evolving” the rice brand’s visual identity, which has long been criticized. Mrs. Butterworth’s parent company, Conagra Brands, released a statement around the same time, saying they’d be doing a “packaging review” in an effort to “be part of the solution.” The Mrs. Butterworth's packaging evokes the mammy archetype, a caricature of Black women.

Also reviewing their packaging is Cream of Wheat, whose parent company B&G Foods said in a statement that they wanted to combat “racial bias” and no longer “inadvertently contribute to systemic racism.”

A few days later, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, the owner of Eskimo Pie, announced they’d been reviewing their brand, too, and recognized the term “Eskimo” is derogatory. As per NPR, the word is considered derogatory as it “was widely used by racist, non-native colonizers” in the Arctic. 

Outside of food brands, there have been other organizations making efforts to contend with their racist histories. On Monday, the NFL's Washington Redskins announced they’ll be getting a new name to replace the derogatory term for America's indigenous people. Earlier this month, country music groups Lady Antebellum and the Dixie Chicks both modified their names — Lady A and The Chicks, respectively — to remove their previously racially-charged phrasing.

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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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