(Reuters) – PepsiCo Inc (O:) will change the name and brand image of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup, it said on Wednesday, dropping a mascot criticized for a racist history.
The logo of the more than 130-year-old brand features an African American woman named after a character from 19th century minstrel shows. The offensive caricature is rooted in a stereotype of a friendly black woman working as a servant or a nanny for a white family.
The brand has faced social media backlash and calls for a boycott in recent days, amid widespread protests over racism in the United States after the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody in Minneapolis.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” said Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer, Quaker Foods North America, in a statement.
“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.”
A new name and logo were not announced, though Quaker said packages without the Aunt Jemima image will start appearing in the fourth quarter of 2020.
PepsiCo also announced on Tuesday a set of initiatives worth more than $400 million over five years to support black communities and increase black representation at PepsiCo.
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