Aunt Jemima’s image and name are being retired in a major branding shift that comes weeks into the rising swell of racial justice announcements from companies following the killing of George Floyd.
The Aunt Jemima brand name dates back to 1889. The brand has been owned by PepsiCo Inc. since 2001, when the soft drink and snack giant acquired Quaker Oats Co. The face of a Black woman has been seen on the packaging since the early 1890s and has been updated over the years.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, VP and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, said in a statement. “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.”
Packaging without the Aunt Jemima image will begin to appear in the last three months of 2020. The name change is set to be announced at a later date and to quickly follow the first phase of the packaging changes, the company said. Details on the new name were not disclosed.
Along with other racial equality 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 in the statement.