PepsiCo has announced that it is rebranding ready-mix pancake flour Aunt Jemima to Pearl Milling Company. Explaining the history behind the new name, the food and beverage giant said that theme will continue to be in its signature red color but with a new brand name and logo. The new packaging will have no reference to Aunt Jemima, which was first founded in 1888 in St. Joseph Missouri. The company in a statement said that Pearl Milling Company will be new to store shelves but it will remain the same iconic self-rising pancake mix. According to the release, the new logo is slated to appear on store shelves later this year.
Through the years, the image of a fictional African American character has been a talking point. It is believed that the spokeswoman in the image was formerly enslaved, some reports claim. Critics have openly expressed their displeasure time and again. This forced the Quaker Oats Company to update the image of the character several times to get rid of the racial stereotypes that have been associated with the origin of the brand. For the uninitiated, Quaker Oats had purchased Aunt Jemima in 1925. However, it was only in June 2020 when the company announced that it would move away from the Aunt Jemima name.
Vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America Kristin Kroepfl said in a statement they recognize that origins of Aunt Jemima were based on a racial stereotype. “There have been efforts over the year to update the brand in order to make it more appropriate and respectful. But we accept that those changes are not enough.” The new brand name and logo trademarks were purchased for Pearl Mining Company by PepsiCo attorneys on February 1. The rebranded Pearl Milling Company said that it is planning to make a commitment of USD 1 million to empower and uplift Black women and girls.