Here is some news hot off the griddle: The pancake and syrup brand formerly known as Aunt Jemima has a new name.
Quaker Oats’ breakfast product and logo will now bear the name of the Pearl Milling Company, according to PepsiCo., its parent company.
The “Aunt Jemima” name had long been criticized as a racist caricature depicting a Black woman from slavery days.
According to a new timeline on the AuntJemima website, Pearl Milling Company was “a small mill in the bustling town of St. Joseph, Missouri” that produced flour, cornmeal and the self-rising pancake mix that became Aunt Jemima in 1889. Quaker acquired the brand in 1926, Adweek reported.
Previously, the timeline noted the character was first portrayed in 1890 by Nancy Green, “a storyteller, cook and missionary worker” who was born as a slave in 1834. Aunt Jemima then became synonymous with the Mammy stereotype, which appealed to white consumers after the Civil War, Adweek reported.
“We are starting a new day with Pearl Milling Company,” a PepsiCo spokesperson told CNN. “A new day rooted in the brand’s historic beginnings and its mission to create moments that matter at the breakfast table.”
The companies that owned Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, Cream of Wheat and Mrs. Butterworth’s, announced redesigns last summer as protests against systemic racism raged nationwide.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker, told NBC News in a statement last year. “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.”
The Pearl Milling Company brand logo depicts what appears to be a 19th-century watermill, where flour was ground at the time, CNN reported. The new logo’s red, white and yellow color scheme is similar to the colors used on Aunt Jemima’s packaging.
“This name is a nod to where our delicious products began before becoming a family-favorite breakfast staple,” PepsiCo said of its new branding. “While the Aunt Jemima brand was updated over the years in a manner intended to remove racial stereotypes, it has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the dignity, respect and warmth that we stand for today.”
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