Racial discrimination and racial inequality uproar has pushed PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) to dropping branding image of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup. With regard to demonstrations and protests against racial discrimination which have been continuously running across U.S, Pepsi have found itself on the receiving end after being accused of being racially biased in its branding.
The more than a century old Aunt Jemima uses a picture of an African-American woman as its brand logo. The brand derives its name from a screen character dating back in the 19th century in minstrel shows. In the show, Jemima was a joyful friendly black woman who worked as a servant for a white family.
Due to growing concern of racial inequality Pepsi further added that it will be dropping the brand name also a day after it dropped the branding logo.
Many took it across various social media platforms expressing their dissatisfaction on how the brand portrayed racial discrimination. For instance, one TikTok user @singkirbysing created a video dubbed “How To Make A Non Racist Breakfast” in which a woman pours down Aunt Jemima mixing powder in the sink. The video garnered 175,000 views just a day after it was posted on Instagram.
Vice President and chief marketing officer at Quaker Foods North America, Kristin Kroepfl, which is co-owned by PepsiCo acknowledged Aunt Jemima branded was initiated on racial grounds. Kroepfl confirmed a change in naming and branding would happen before the year wraps up.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” said Kroepfl.
Following how things turned out with Aunt Jemima, several companies under the same circumstances have promised to review their branding and make changes where need be.
Among these brands include Cream of Wheat Porridge owned by B&G Foods Inc. (BGS) who promised to review their packaging and Uncle Ben’s rice which is owned by ConAgra Brands Inc. (CAG).
Mars which owns Uncle Ben’s Rice and is owned by ConAgra Brands released a press statement in which the company says it has a role to take a stand in assisting to end racial prejudice and one way they will do this is by changing visual branding identity of Uncle Ben’s Rice.