Aunt Jemima Has a New Name After 131 Years: The Pearl Milling Company
Aunt Jemima Rebrands As Pearl Milling Company
Last summer, after the killing of George Floyd and the widespread protests over racial inequality, the Quaker Oats Company announced it would drop the name Aunt Jemima.
This week, Aunt Jemima now owned by Pepsico formally rebranded itself as the Pearl Milling Company. But many ask "Why did it take 131 years?"
PURCHASE, N.Y. - PepsiCo, Inc., today announced the debut of Pearl Milling Company, the new name of the pancake mix and syrup varieties previously found under the Aunt Jemima brand.
Pearl Milling Company-branded pancake mixes, syrups, cornmeal, flour, and grits products will start to arrive in market in June 2021. 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.
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.
The Quaker Oats Company signed the contract to purchase the Aunt Jemima brand in 1925. It updated its image over the years in a manner intended to remove racial stereotypes that dated back to the brand origins. In June 2020, the company announced it was transitioning from the Aunt Jemima name and likeness on packaging and pledged a $5 million commitment to support the Black community.
Throughout the effort that led to the new Pearl Milling Company name, Quaker worked 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 coming weeks, Pearl Milling Company will also announce the details of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women, inviting the community to visit its website and nominate non-profit organizations for an opportunity to receive grants to further that mission. This is in addition to PepsiCo's more than $400 million, five-year investment to uplift Black business and communities, and increase Black representation at PepsiCo.
PepsiCo and The Quaker Oats Company made a commitment to change the name and image of Aunt Jemima, recognizing that they do not reflect their core values.
The company has unveiled a redesigned website (See link below) for its line of Aunt Jemima products on Tuesday, stating that “it was the start of a new day.”
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $67 billion in net revenue in 2019, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. "Winning with Purpose" reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of the business.
Uncle Ben's and Cream of Wheat are Next?
Last September, Mars Food announced that it was changing the name of its Uncle Ben’s rice products to Ben’s Original and that it would also remove the image of an older Black man smiling from the box.
The parent company of Cream of Wheat also said last September that the Black chef would no longer appear on its packaging.