The Quaker Oats Company’s pancake mix and syrup brand Aunt Jemima is now called Pearl Milling Company.
PepsiCo, Quaker’s parent company, unveiled the new name and logo for Aunt Jemima on Tuesday, eight months after it first announced that it would remove Aunt Jemima’s image from its product packaging in the fourth quarter of 2020 and change the name soon after.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype. While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, said in a news release last June.
Aunt Jemima’s image, which has been long criticized as a racist caricature of a Black woman stemming from slavery, is replaced by the new Pearl Milling Company brand logo that appears to be a 19th-century watermill, where flour was ground at the time. The new logo has red, white and yellow color scheme that perfectly blends with the colors used on Aunt Jemima’s packaging.
Pancake mixes, syrups, cornmeal, flour, and grits products with the Pearl Milling Company name and logo will start to hit store shelves this June, while products under the Aunt Jemima name without the character image will continue to be available until the said month.
Though new in the market, 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. Founder Chris L. Rutt named the original company after Old Aunt Jemima, an 1875 song from a minstrel show that featured performers in blackface. Quaker bought the Aunt Jemima brand in 1925.
In a recent news release, PepsiCo revealed that it came up with the new brand name Pearl Milling Company after conducting extensive market research. “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,” said the company.
As part of PepsiCo’s journey for racial equality, Pearl Milling Company will also announce the details of its annual $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women in the coming weeks. The brand is encouraging the public to visit its website and suggest nonprofit organizations for an opportunity to receive grants.
This investment is separate from PepsiCo’s $400 million, five-year commitment to advance and uplift the Black community that the company announced back in June.