The brand formerly known as Aunt Jemima announced a new name: Pearl Milling Company. In June, the company began to face scrutiny due to Aunt Jemima being a racial stereotype.
“Though new to store shelves, Pearl Milling Company was founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and was the originator of the iconic self-rising pancake mix that would later become known as Aunt Jemima,” PepsiCo said.
The 130-year-old brand historically featured a Black woman named Aunt Jemima on their products. Although Jemima’s image has changed over time, her original image perpetuated racist stereotypes. The name and photo also led unknowing black community members to support a brand financially built off of white supremacy.
The company initially depicted Aunt Jemima as a slave. Quaker, which PepsiCo owns, removed the “mammy” kerchief from the character in a political attempt to avoid any backlash.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins being a racial stereotype. 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,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, said.
“Consumers, employees, external cultural and subject-matter experts, and diverse agency partners,” shaped the new iteratiton and it was “developed with inclusivity in mind.” The company also plans to make a $1 million “commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women,” Pearl Milling Company said in a statement.