Aunt Jemima will no longer be the face of a popular syrup. Quaker Oats has decided to retire the more than 130-year-old brand and logo, succumbing to pressure from social justice activists.
“As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” said Kristin Kroepfl, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Quaker Foods North America.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype. 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.”
The packaging changes without the Aunt Jemima image will begin to appear throughout the fourth quarter of 2020.
The company’s website said the Aunt Jemima brand was brought to life in 1890, based off the life of Nancy Green, who was born a slave in Montgomery County, Kentucky.
She was best known as a storyteller, cook, missionary worker, and the advertising world’s first living trademark — Aunt Jemima.
Quaker Oats purchased the Aunt Jemima Mills Company in 1926, trademarking the logo and brand in 1937. Quaker was purchased by PepsiCo in 2001.
“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,” said Kroepfl. “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.”