Quaker Oats has announced that it will be releasing a new name and logo for its “Aunt Jemima” products. The company made the move to retire what was considered a racist stereotype. “Aunt Jemima” had been the face of its pancake mixes and syrups for decades.
The new name for our beloved syrup? Pearl Milling Company.
The new logo uses the same color scheme — red, white, and yellow — as the previous “Aunt Jemima” logo. PepsiCo says the Pearl Milling Company name is a nod to the 19th-century company that created the original ready-made pancake mix.
“We are starting a new day with Pearl Milling Company. A new day rooted in the brand’s historic beginnings and its mission to create moments that matter at the breakfast table,” a PepsiCo spokesperson told CNN Business.
The new brand is on schedule to launch in June.
“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 logo,” the company said. “Cornmeal and grits products will also transition to the new name.”
The previous logo had been a staple for more than 130 years. However, PepsiCo admitted, “While the Aunt Jemima brand was updated over the years in a manner intended to remove racial stereotypes, it has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the dignity, respect, and warmth that we stand for today.”
The famous and controversial character was based on an 1800s “mammy” — a black servant in a white household. Nancy Green was responsible for portraying the “Aunt Jemima” figure. Green had actually been born into slavery.
The Story Behind the ‘Aunt Jemima’ Replacement
The Pearl Milling Company was the late-19th-century business that created the original ready-made pancake mix that we all know and love today. The company was born in 1888 and founded by Chris L. Rutt.
The new logo replaces the “Aunt Jemima” image with what appears to be a 19th-century watermill. That’s where flour was ground at the time.
“This name is a nod to where our delicious products began before becoming a family-favorite breakfast staple,” PepsiCo said in regard to its new branding.
One user on Twitter finds the new name to be a little clunky when used in every day situations.
“…hand me that Pearl Milling out the cabinet!’ ‘Don’t forget the Pearl Milling Company syrup when you go to the store!’ Aunt Jemima is now officially Pearl Milling Company. Is this the best (name) they could come up with though?#AuntJemima #Syrup”
Pearl Milling Company also has plans to announce an annual $1 million commitment to “empower and uplift Black girls and women” in the coming weeks. This investment comes in addition to PepsiCo’s $400 million, five-year commitment to “advance and uplift the Black community.”
“The commitment we’re making is a reflection of our broader PepsiCo values of diversity and inclusion and support of the Black community,” PepsiCo said.