Aunt Jemima finally has a new name, after announcing last June that it would be retiring the logo and 130-year-old name that had roots in minstrelsy and racist stereotypes. The Quaker Oats-owned brand will now be known as Pearl Milling Company, with duly repackaged pancake mixes and syrups hitting store shelves in June 2021, according to a press release.
The new name comes from a mill that was founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri. “Using a pearl milling technique, they produced flour, cornmeal, and, beginning in 1889, the famous self-rising pancake mix that would go on to be known as Aunt Jemima,” the brand’s updated website reads. Accordingly, the new logo depicts an old-fashioned mill. The brand’s red, white, and yellow color scheme remains the same.
“This name is a nod to where our delicious products began before becoming a family-favorite breakfast staple,” PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, told CNN. “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.”
In its press release, Pearl Milling Company also announced that it will pledge $1 million to “empower and uplift Black girls and women” through grants to non-profit organizations, in addition to PepsiCo’s “$400 million, five-year investment to uplift Black business and communities, and increase Black representation at PepsiCo.”
Aunt Jemima was one of the first brands to announce changes to questionable names and logos amid protests against systemic racism, anti-Black violence, and police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd last summer. Other brands that followed suit include Uncle Ben’s, Cream of Wheat, Mrs. Butterworth’s, and Eskimo Pie.