KEY POINTS

  • Pearl Milling Company-branded products will be available in the market from June 2021
  • PepsiCo said Quaker ensured the new brand was developed with inclusivity in mind
  • Quaker announced in June last year that it would drop the Aunt Jemima brand name 

PepsiCo on Tuesday announced that Aunt Jemima pancake products will now be sold under a new name: Pearl Milling Company. The announcement comes after Quaker Oats last year decided to drop the Aunt Jemima name and change the packaging, acknowledging that its origins are based on a racial stereotype.

In a statement, PepsiCo, which owns the Quaker Oats brand, said that Pearl Milling Company-branded products will be available in the market from June 2021 and products will continue to be available under the Aunt Jemima name without the character image till then.

It explained that Pearl Milling Company, founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, was the originator of the 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,” the statement read.

The rebranding has been in the works since last June, when protests erupted against racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd, according to The New York Times. Several food companies, who were criticized for using racial stereotypes, announced reviews and redesign of products.

"We recognize Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype," Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, was quoted as saying by NBC News last year. "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."

PepsiCo said that “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.”

The company said that Pearl Milling Company will also announce the details in coming weeks of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women. This, it said, 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 Inc. (NYSE: PEP) A Pepsi logo. Photo: Reuters