Aunt Jemima brand gets a new name

National

(ABC4) – The Aunt Jemima brand will soon be no more.

PepsiCo, Inc., parent company to Quaker Oats, announced the debut of Pearl Milling Company, the new name of the pancake mix and syrup varieties previously sold under the Aunt Jemima brand.

In June 2020, Quaker Oats announced it would remove the name and image of Aunt Jemima from the pancake mixes, syrup, cornmeal, flour, and grits as part of an effort by the company to “make progress toward racial equality.”

The company said in its statement that it recognizes that “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”

The brand, which spans over 120 years, features a black woman named after a character from 19th-century minstrel shows. The company’s history timeline says Aunt Jemima was first “brought to life” by Nancy Green, who was born a slave in 1834 in Kentucky. She became the face of the product in 1890.

“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 last year. “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.”

Pearl Milling Company-branded items will arrive in the market in June 2021, according to PepsiCo. Products will have the same familiar red packaging found under the Aunt Jemima brand, as you can see in the photo below.

Photo courtesy of PepsiCo, Inc.

Products under the Aunt Jemima name without the character image will continue to be available until June.

Though new to store shelves, the Quaker Oats Company says Pearl Milling Company was found in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and was the originator of the iconic self-rising pancake mix that later became known as Aunt Jemima.

Last year, after the change to the Aunt Jemima brand was announced, the owner of Uncle Ben’s brand of rice announced the brand would “evolve” in response to concerns about racial stereotyping. Days later, the owner of Eskimo Pie announced the brand would change its name and marketing of the nearly century-old chocolate-covered ice cream bar.

A Tuesday release from PepsiCo says that in the coming weeks, Pearl Milling Company will also announce the details of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women, inviting the community to visit its website and nominate non-profit organizations for an opportunity to receive grants to further that mission.

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