Coon cheese reveals new name after racism controversy

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Popular cheese brand Coon has changed its name after facing widespread controversy over the name’s racist double meaning.

The brand’s parent company Saputo Dairy Australia announced Wednesday that from July onwards, the cheese would be branded with its new name, Cheer.

While the recipe and packaging has remained unchanged, the new name came as a result of the company’s “careful and diligent review to honour the brand-affinity felt by our consumers while aligning with current attitudes and perspectives”.

Supermarket shelves with dairy goods and eggs. Source: Getty Images
The popular cheese will be sold under the new name from July. Source: Getty Images

Coon cheese was manufactured in 1935 and named after American Edward William Coon, who died in 1934 after inventing a ripening process used to produce the original dairy product.

The word Coon however is considered to be an offensive racial slur towards black people.

Name change follows widespread outrage

Many spoke out about the issue last year during the period of Black Lives Matter unrest and called on the name to be changed.

“Regardless of the brand name’s history, times have well and truly changed. Even in my 35 years it has been nothing but a racist term in the common vernacular,” one said.

“They are decades overdue for a nice simple rebrand. They could even score a bunch of free PR for doing the right thing. At this point it's just bloody-mindedness,” another claimed.

Weeks later, the company announced it would be changing its name to contribute towards eliminating racism.

This will be the new labelling for the popular cheese, formerly known as Coon. Source: Supplied
This will be the new labelling for the popular cheese, formerly known as Coon. Source: Supplied

“Treating people with respect and without discrimination is one of our basic principles and it is imperative that we continue to uphold this in everything we do,” Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Saputo Inc, Lino Saputo said.

“Our decision to change the name of Australia’s much-loved cheese reinforces this commitment to build a culture of acceptance, inclusion and respect where everyone feels a sense of belonging.”

Saputo Dairy Australia Commercial Director Cam Bruce said Cheer Cheese is a “cheese for everyone”.

“We trust our valued consumers and those who are new to our products will embrace this new name,” Mr Bruce said.

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