Bottles of PepsiCo Inc. Aunt Jemima syrup are displayed for sale at a ShopRite Holdings Ltd. grocery store in Stratford, Connecticut.
Paul Taggart | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Aunt Jemima brand of syrup and pancake mix will get a new name and image, Quaker Oats announced Wednesday, saying the company recognizes that “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”
The 130-year-old brand features a Black woman named Aunt Jemima, who was originally dressed as a minstrel character.
The picture has changed over time, but Quaker said removing the image and name is part of an effort by the company “to make progress toward racial equality.”
“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 will begin to appear in the fall of 2020, and a new name for the foods will be announced at a later date.
The company also announced it will donate at least $5 million over the next five years “to create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.