Mrs. Butterworth’s brand and packaging are under review as brands using images of Black characters receive increased scrutiny from the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd.
Conagra Brands Inc. announced the review of its Mrs. Butterworth’s brand hours after rival syrup and pancake mix brand Aunt Jemima said it was removing the imagery of a Black woman from its packaging and would change its brand name. Mrs. Butterworth's origin and race have never been specified by Conagra. But the dark coloring of the syrup in the clear bottle gives many people the idea she is meant to represent a Black woman.
Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup was introduced by Unilever in 1961 and is currently owned by Conagra. The syrup comes in a bottle shaped like a woman. The character talks and seemingly springs to life in tv spots in which she talks about the product.
“The Mrs. Butterworth's brand, including its syrup packaging, is intended to evoke the images of a loving grandmother,” Conagra said in a statement. “We stand in solidarity with our Black and Brown communities and we can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values.”