Quaker Oats announced Wednesday Aunt Jemima pancake mix will change its name and logo in an effort by the brand to distance itself from racial stereotypes
Over 120 years old Aunt Jemima Brand to Change Name and logo
The company said in its statement that it recognizes that “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”
The logo of the brand, which spans over 120 years, features an African American woman named after a character from 19th-century minstrel shows.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, said in a press release. “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.”
Kroepfl said the company has worked to “update” the brand to be “appropriate and respectful” but it realized the changes were insufficient.
Quaker said the new packaging is due out in the fall of 2020, and a new name will be announced at a later date, NBC News reported.
About Brand and and History of Aunt Jemima
Aunt Jemima is a brand of pancake mix, syrup, and other breakfast foods owned by the Quaker Oats Company of Chicago, a subsidiary of PepsiCo. The trademark dates to 1893, although Aunt Jemima pancake mix debuted in 1889.
Aunt Jemima originally came from a minstrel show as one of their pantheon of stereotypical Black characters. The character appears to have been a Reconstruction era addition to that cast.
The inspiration for Aunt Jemima was Billy Kersands’ American-style minstrelsy/vaudeville song “Old Aunt Jemima”, written in 1875. The Aunt Jemima character was prominent in minstrel shows in the late 19th century and was later adopted by commercial interests to represent the Aunt Jemima brand.