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02/10/2021

PepsiCo Unveils New Look for Aunt Jemima Brand

Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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PepsiCo Unveils New Look for Aunt Jemima Brand
PepsiCo has debuted Pearl Milling Co., the new name of the pancake mix and syrup varieties previously found under the Aunt Jemima brand.

With inclusivity at the forefront of its rebranding strategy, PepsiCo Inc. has unveiled the new name and imagery to replace the Aunt Jemima logo found on pancake mix and syrup varieties. The brand will now be known as Pearl Milling Co., keeping the same familiar red packaging previously found under the more-than-century-old Aunt Jemima name.

The branding for the Aunt Jemima product line originates with the “Old Aunt Jemima” minstrel song. Minstrel songs and shows represent a form of racist “blackface” entertainment with long roots in U.S. history. 

The Quaker Oats Co., a subsidiary of PepsiCo, signed the contract to purchase the Aunt Jemima brand in 1925. Quaker tried to update the brand over the years to remove racial stereotypes, but the changes weren’t enough. It wasn’t until last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, in which marchers demanded racial equality, that a cultural reckoning of brands finally occurred.

In June 2020, Quaker said it would remove the image of Aunt Jemima from its packaging and change the name of the brand.

Shortly after PepsiCo’s announcement, other CPG companies, including Mars Inc. and Conagra Brands, revealed that their respective Uncle Ben’s and Mrs. Butterworth’s product lines would also be rebranded.

Throughout the effort that led to the new Pearl Milling Co. name, Quaker worked with consumers, employees, external cultural and subject-matter experts, and diverse agency partners to gather broad perspectives and ensure that the new brand was developed with inclusivity in mind.

The Pearl Milling Co.-branded pancake mixes, syrups, cornmeal, flour and grits products will start to arrive in market in June 2021. Products will continue to be available under the Aunt Jemima name, without the character image, until June.

PepsiCo Unveils New Look for 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 Co. 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.

In the coming weeks, Pearl Milling Co. will also offer details of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women, inviting the community to visit its website and nominate nonprofit 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 businesses and communities, and to increase Black representation at PepsiCo.

Purchase, New York-based 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 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

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