The grocer said it had decided years ago to adopt the Trader Joe’s banner on its entire product lineup, instead of using such ethnic-sounding variations as Trader Jose’s on Mexican food products and Trader Ming’s on Chinese fare. The chain is one of many who has been faced with reassessing their brand’s racist history and/or marketing. Last year, it had an estimated $13.7 billion in net sales. Today is National Voter Registration Day! Last month, Quaker Oats said it would begin to phase out the Aunt Jemima name and logo from its syrup and pancake mix later this year. In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and nationwide protests against racial inequality in America, brands like Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, Cream of Wheat, Mrs. Butterworth, and more have reevaluated their names, mascots and imagery to not perpetuate racism and stereotypes. The brand had been criticized for years for perpetuating and profiting from the “mammy” figure. Bedell, an activist and a high school senior in the San Francisco Bay area, was glad to see the announcement from Trader Joe’s but said she wanted the retailer to provide a timeline for the name changes and pull the products in the meantime. The company said in a statement that it decided several years ago to use only the Trader Joe’s name on its products and has been in the process of updating the ethnic-sounding labels. Trader Joe’s is doing away with store brand labels derided as racist in an online petition, becoming the latest major company to end the use of names and images that perpetuate stereotypes. Eskimo Pie Drops 'Derogatory' Name After Nearly A Century, Mrs. Butterworth's, Cream Of Wheat Vow To Review Packaging To Address Racism, Uncle Ben’s ‘Evolving’ Its Brand Identity After Aunt Jemima Name Change. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. She said the controversial approach to naming “may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness.” However, Friend-Daniel said, “we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day.”, In a statement to CBS News, the brand added: “While this approach to product naming may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day.”, While many of the offending product packaging has already been changed, according to the brand, Trader Joe’s also told the publication they plan to finish changing over all packaging “very soon.”. The companies behind Cream of Wheat porridge, Uncle Ben’s rice and Mrs. Butterworth’s pancake syrups also have committed to reviewing and changing their product names and packaging, after relying on branding that evokes racist stereotypes of subservience. The petition also took issue with the chain’s founder, Joe Coulombe, taking “inspiration in building the Trader Joe’s brand from a racist book and a controversial theme park attraction, both of which have received criticism for romanticizing Western Imperialism and fetishizing non-Western peoples.” The petition points to the chain’s website, which claims Coulombe was inspired by the book “White Shadows in the South Seas” and the Disneyland Jungle Trip ride. Spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel told NPR on Monday that the brand “made the decision several years ago to use only the Trader Joe’s name on our products moving forward” and “had hoped that the work would be complete by now but there are still a small number of products going through the packaging change and we expect to be done very soon.”. Trader Joe’s did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. The brand claims it decided to repackage products labeled "Trader Ming's," "Trader Giotto's," "Arabian Joe," and more "several years ago," not because of the petition.
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