Aunt Jemima has officially rebranded itself as Pearl Milling Company after many accused the pancake mix and syrup company of perpetuating racist stereotypes.
On Tuesday, parent company PepsiCo announced that the newly rebranded products — including mixes, syrups, cornmeal, flour, and grits — will hit stores in June of this year.
“Pearl Milling Company will offer people all their favorite pancake mix and syrup varieties in the same familiar red packaging previously found under the Aunt Jemima brand. Products will continue to be available under the Aunt Jemima name without the character image until June,” a statement read.
Last June, amid worldwide protests against systemic racism, PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats announced that the Aunt Jemima packaging — which drew inspiration from the song “Old Aunt Jemima” from a minstrel show in which performers wore blackface — would be discontinued.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, said in a press release. “While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough.
“We acknowledge the brand has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the confidence, warmth and dignity that we would like it to stand for today,” Kroepfl continued. “We are starting by removing the image and changing the name. We will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand and make it one everyone can be proud to have in their pantry.”
In developing Pearl Milling Company, PepsiCo said Quaker consulted “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.”
In the upcoming weeks, the brand will also announce details of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women.
Additionally, PepsiCo has pledged to donate more than $400 million over five years to uplift Black business and communities, and to increase Black representation at their own company.