Dividends and PepsiCo’s Aunt Jemima to change name, logo over racial stereotype

PepsiCo is a giant food company whose brands include Pepsi soft drinks, Doritos and Lays potato chips, Quaker foods and Gatorade drinks. It is a well run company, however among the Quaker brands is Aunt Jemina mix and syrup. In the northeast, my family was raised on maple syrup, so personally there is no connection to the syrup. In modern times, all companies go through an extensive process to determine the correct name to try to not offend anyone, which is why Altria was named when it spun off from from Phillip Morris Tobacco.

Ever since the death of George Floyd and the demand for change of policing, the rest of how African Americans are treated and symbolized have come up for discussion. In an article by Marinne Geller of Reuters, Aunt Jemima has been the logo of the syrup for 130 years and is rooted in a stereotype of a friendly Black woman working as a servant or nanny for a white family.

Kristin Kroepfl vice president and chief marketing officer said we recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on racial sterotype. (one wonders about that statement – they recognized but did nothing till now, why?) Other companies such as Con-Agra Brands Mrs. Butterworth and Mars brand Uncle Ben’s rice are reviewing their brands.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, if it works and earns profits why change? if it does not earn profits, change is on the way. It is sometimes difficult to look back and see brands that should have never been considered but they were by reasonable rational people. Often when a brand makes money and becomes a billion dollar brand, change whether for the environment or for decency is very hard to do. A number of years ago, one of the case studies examined in school was to add or subtract phosphate from the laundry detergent, the cost was in the millions, either way to either retain or add sales? Choices are hard to make and need the necessary push.

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.

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