PepsiCo drops Aunt Jemima Brand name, unveils US$400m racial equality package

USA – The Quaker Oats Company, PepsiCo’s subsidiary which owns the Aunt Jemima brand of pancake mix, syrup, and other breakfast foods has announced that it will be removing the brand’s image from its packaging and changing the name  of the 130-year old brand as part of its efforts to enhance and promote racial equality.

The company said that will begin to roll out packaging changes without the Aunt Jemima image throughout Q4 of 2020 while the name change will be announced at a later date and will quickly follow the first phase of packaging changes.

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“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,” said Kristin Kroepfl, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Quaker Foods North America.

“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype. 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.”

While the Aunt Jemima brand has existed for more than 130 years, Kroepfl acknowledged that the brand has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect “the confidence, warmth and dignity that we would like it to stand for today.”

Kroepfl noted that the company will start by removing the image and changing the name and will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from within the company and the Black community “to further evolve the brand and make it one everyone can be proud to have in their pantry.”

The company added that the Aunt Jemima brand will also donate a minimum of US$5 million over the next five years to create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.

In addition to the changes on Aunt Jemima, PepsiCo has reiterated its commitment to making significant change for its people, its business and the communities in which we live and work.

PepsiCo’s Chairman and CEO, Ramon Laguarta has announced a more than US$400 million set of initiatives over five years to lift up Black communities and increase Black representation at PepsiCo.

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“These initiatives comprise a holistic effort for PepsiCo to walk the talk of a leading corporation and help address the need for systemic change. The activities focus on three pillars—People, Business, and Communities,” Ramon said.

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