Household Breakfast Brand Revamps Image
Tucked inside every pantry is a box of pancake mix; more likely than not, it's a red rectangular box with the cheery face of Aunt Jemima smiling at you. The Aunt Jemima brand is a household name that has been around for over 130 years.
However, last summer, the parent company Quaker Oaks made a big announcement regarding the Aunt Jemima brand.
Amidst a national issue over racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody, the pancake brand received backlash over racist undertones
Aunt Jemima was based on a minstrel character, NBC News reported, and the original face of the brand was Nancy Green, a formerly enslaved Black woman.
Following the backlash, in June 2020, the parent company PepsiCo acknowledged the Aunt Jemima character was based on a 'racial stereotype,' admitting "that attempts to update the brand have been insufficient.."
Quaker Oats announced the brand will be called the Pearl Milling Company. While the recipes will remain unchanged and the products will be packaged in the familiar red boxes, the name and image of the “Aunt Jemima” character will no longer be used.
Pepsico announced products under the Aunt Jemima name will be phased out of stores in June.
There have been mixed reactions concerning the change. Many people have taken to their online platforms to express their very strong opinions. Many people welcome the rebranding, especially those who had already recognized the racism intertwined within the brand.
To help alleviate some of its misappropriations, Quaker Oats said it would donate at least $5 million over the next five years to support the Black community.