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Aunt Jemima syrup and mix renamed Pearl Milling Co.

A bottle of Aunt Jemima syrup sits on a counter. The name of the product line is being changed to Pearl Milling Co.
Pepsico is changing the name and marketing image of its Aunt Jemima product line, acknowledging that the 131-year-old brand was rooted in racist tropes.
(Donald King / Associated Press)

PepsiCo Inc. rebranded its Aunt Jemima pancake-and-syrup line as Pearl Milling Co., following through on a pledge to eliminate a brand linked to racial stereotypes.

Products with the new name, including pancake mixes, syrups, cornmeal and other goods, will begin appearing on shelves in June, the snack-and-beverage giant said in a statement Tuesday. It will continue to use the Aunt Jemima name — but not the character image — until then.

The company agreed to phase out Aunt Jemima last year, acknowledging that the 131-year-old brand was rooted in racist tropes. The new name has historical ties to the existing product line: Pearl Milling Co., founded in 1888, created the self-rising pancake mix that was later branded as Aunt Jemima.

The indisputably racist brand, and its bewildering longevity, speaks to the power of marketing in reinforcing offensive stereotypes.

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When PepsiCo first announced plans to change the brand in June, it also pledged a $5-million commitment to support the Black community. The move to rebrand was part of a broader push by consumer-product companies to eliminate offensive images and names, a response to nationwide protests against systemic racism.

In making the transition, the company’s Quaker Oats division “worked with consumers, employees, external cultural and subject-matter experts and diverse agency partners to gather broad perspectives and ensure the new brand was developed with inclusivity in mind,” according to the statement.


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