Should More Food Products be Rebranded?

Pearl+Milling+Company+-+formerly+known+as+Aunt+Jemima+-+has+been+the+household+name+for+pancakes+in+millions+of+homes+for+generations.+The+name+may+have+been+changed%2C+but+the+sweet+delicious+flavor+is+still+the+same.

Ryan Leon

Pearl Milling Company – formerly known as Aunt Jemima – has been the household name for pancakes in millions of homes for generations. The name may have been changed, but the sweet delicious flavor is still the same.

In the year 2020, things took a turn for the worse. Systemic racism and hate consumed the United States. Society was a broken shell of itself, and people everywhere felt it. Not just those living in America, but also people on the other side of the world in different countries. In conjunction with the pandemic, our once beautiful country became a place of despair. Especially for people of African American ethnicity.

A Serious Situation

Of course, I am referring to the George Floyd incident that happened back in May of 2020. After this incident, society had hit its boiling point, and nothing would ever be the same again.

Food brands such as the famous Aunt Jemima, as well as Uncle Ben’s, were rebranded. The Aunt Jemima name was no more as of June 2020. Pearl Milling Company became the new name, which is based on the original mill that started making the mix in the first place. As for Uncle Ben’s, it is now Ben’s Original.

The decision to change the names of these products was ultimately because many people viewed them to be racially stereotypical. Which, by the way, is completely understandable. The question I have is why did it not happen sooner?

Racial injustices have existed for hundreds of years. So, what was it about the case of Floyd that caused such drastic measures?

What About Other Brands? 

Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben are not the only brands with questionable mascots. There is also the very well-known Tapatio and Cholula brands. Since others have already been changed, it would be fair to assume other brands will get the same treatment. So, I would not be surprised if there are people out there who find the pictures on these salsa brands offensive.

Personally, as a Hispanic male, I don’t find them to be offensive, and I don’t think they should be rebranded. And while I am completely understanding about the changes made to the other brand names, I never thought of them as racist.

I grew up with those brands, and when I looked at them, I didn’t just see an image of an African American person. I saw Aunt Jemima; and when I saw her face, all I thought about was the fact that I was going to eat delicious pancakes.

The same goes for the other brands I mentioned. They have been household names for generations. When I think about Tapatio, the fact that a Mexican man adorns the packaging doesn’t bother me.

Similarly, this ideology represents how I feel about Cholula as well. Those who have seen this brand know that the woman on the bottle looks to be of Mexican heritage. Again, this does not bother me.

Is More Change Necessary?

I cannot speak on the behalf of others and how they feel. I can only convey my own feelings and experiences with these brands. But I have to say that I also completely respect the opinions of others; and while I don’t think it should happen, I would be on board with more name changes. Overall, it is just a name; so, it would be perfectly fine if they do change just as long as we get the same great tasting items that all of these food brands have to offer.

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