Aunt Jemima products are being renamed, parent company PepsiCo announced Tuesday.
The syrup and pancake mix will now be under the Pearl Milling Company brand.
Twitter users had a variety of positive and negative reactions to the change.
For around 130 years, the Aunt Jemima character has served as the face of an eponymous supermarket syrup. On Tuesday, PepsiCo has announced a new name for the popular breakfast-food brand: Pearl Milling Company.
"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 company said in a press release reported by Insider.
This change has been in the making for a while. In June, the company announced it would be swapping out the original name because of its racist implications, stating that it was inspired by a minstrel song, Insider previously reported.
In a statement on the issue at the time, Kristin Kroepfl, the chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America (which is a subsidiary of PepsiCo and owns the Aunt Jemima brand), said the company "recognize[s] Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype."
While this isn't the first time the brand has gotten a makeover, it does mark the first time the brand has decided to let go of its name recognition altogether. Ahead of the 1989 update which saw a new hairstyle, pearl earrings, and a white shirt collar added to the the Aunt Jemima character's appearance, Quaker Oats then-spokesman Ron Bottrell said the name would remain the same because "that kind of familiarity and recognition is an invaluable asset.''
But critics of the brand, like Riché Richardson who wrote about her opinion for The New York Times back in 2015, have been calling for the company to fully replace the name and logo for years.
Now that PepsiCo has finally unveiled Aunt Jemima's new name, syrup-lovers are taking to Twitter to share their feelings about the change.
Many think Aunt Jemima's new name could've been better
There are some critics on Twitter who think PepsiCo should have picked a different name or at least changed the color scheme more, saying the new packaging looks like a "generic knockoff" of Aunt Jemima.
—Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) February 10, 2021
Others were happy that the brand moved away from its racist packaging but thought "Pearl Milling Company" sounded like a fake company.
—Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) February 10, 2021
Many said they'll still be on the lookout for the original Aunt Jemima packaging regardless of the name change.
—Rich (@UptownDCRich) February 10, 2021
—Velle (Clips 17-7) ⁶𓅓 (@ahappyclipfan) February 10, 2021
—Yo Midas (@YoMidas1) February 10, 2021
—🐻 (@Wheat313) February 9, 2021
Others mocked the timing of the name change
Some Twitter users also wrote about how they don't believe this change will do much to "solve" racism in America and drew attention to the irony of this announcement coming during Black History Month.
At least one Twitter user accused the company of using racism as a "marketing tool."
—TempoRamen (@TempoRamen) February 10, 2021
—Keyo🇭🇹🖌 (@keyoart) February 10, 2021
Some took the opportunity to argue whether or not they found the Aunt Jemima packaging offensive in the first place
Some Twitter users wrote that they never found the brand name or character offensive to begin with and suggested the company ought to "poll the affected group" before making changes like this.
—Kassel 🇭🇹 🇺🇸 (@k_pierrejean) February 7, 2021
—Nick Polom (@nmplol) February 10, 2021
But others pointed out how a small step like this can still be a catalyst for larger change, noting that some people did feel uncomfortable with the packaging based on a racist stereotype and saying that having less racist iconography in the world is always a good thing.
—Quazymoodo (@Qmoodo) February 10, 2021
—TORMAGEDDON MONSTRUM REX🛡️She/her/hers ﷽ (@NaahidJohnspoon) February 10, 2021
—Jasmine 🇭🇹 (@s0ggypopcorn) February 10, 2021
—Big_Libra_£nergy (@MelanatedLegend) February 10, 2021
To learn more about how the history of Aunt Jemima's original logo is rooted in racial stereotypes and slavery, check out Insider reporter Jessica Snouwaert's timeline of how the Aunt Jemima brand has evolved over the last 130 years.
Read the original article on Insider