The owners of a controversially named ice cream have pledged to change its name, joining a list of other companies that have vowed to rebrand and retire racist stereotypes.
Eskimo Pie, a chocolate-covered ice cream sold in the US and invented 99 years ago, has vowed to change its name and branding, while the parent company, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, has pledged to be part of the solution in striving for racial equality.
Nestle, the world’s biggest packaged food maker, agreed to sell its US ice cream business, which included Eskimo Pie, to Dreyer’s Grand in December 2019.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Elizabell Marquez, head of marketing at Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, said the business had been reviewing the brand for “some time”.
“We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognise the term is derogatory,” Ms Marquez told Rolling Stone.
“This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.”
Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream will reportedly discontinue using the character seen on the ice cream’s packaging and the dessert will have a new name by the end of the year.
“Although the name ‘Eskimo’ is commonly used in Alaska to refer to all Inuit and Yupik people of the world, this name is considered derogatory in many other places because it was given by non-Inuit people and was said to mean ‘eater of raw meat’,” the Alaskan Native Language Centre says on their website.
On Wednesday, Quaker Oats announced that it will retire the Aunt Jemima brand, saying the company recognises the character’s origins are “based on a racial stereotype”.
Indeed, the logo was inspired by 19th century minstrel celebrating the “mammy”, a black woman content to serve her white masters. A former slave, Nancy Green, became the first face of the pancake product in 1890.
Aunt Jemima’s downfall is the latest signal of the powerful cultural moment unleashed by the Black Lives Matter protests, which have spread around the world and prompted companies to rethink their policies, from hiring practices to giving employees time off for Juneteenth, the anniversary of the end of the slavery in the US.
Other companies said they are reconsidering racial imagery in their branding, including Uncle Ben’s rice.
The owner of the Uncle Ben’s rice says the brand will “evolve” in response to concerns about racial stereotyping.
Caroline Sherman, a spokeswoman for parent company Mars, said the company is listening to the voices of consumers, especially in the black community.
With AP and Reuters
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.