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The grocer says the use of “Arabian Joe,” “Trader Jose’s” and other labels based on cuisine origin was meant to be playful but acknowledges it may have had the opposite effect. The most important news stories of the day, curated by Post editors and delivered every morning. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. “The Trader Joe’s branding is racist because it exoticizes other cultures - it presents ‘Joe’ as the default ‘normal’ and the other characters falling outside of it - they are ‘Arabian Joe,’ ‘Trader José,’ and ‘Trader Joe San.’”. In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and nationwide protests against racial inequality in America, brands like Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, Cream of Wheat, Mrs. Butterworth, and more have reevaluated their names, mascots and imagery to not perpetuate racism and stereotypes. Today is National Voter Registration Day! But nationwide racial justice protests following the killing of George Floyd in police custody brought new attention to systemic racism in American life, including elements of consumer brands that reinforce stereotypes. How systemic racism shaped Floyd’s life and hobbled his ambition, George Floyd saw sports as his way out, but the Houston education system leaves many poor, Black students behind, ‘Hatred is taught’: Pennsylvania’s second lady films a woman’s racist attack at the grocery store, Reconstructing seven days of protests in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death, Nearly 250 women have been fatally shot by police since 2015, Understanding racism and inequality in America. “The Trader Joe’s branding is racist because it exoticizes other cultures — it presents ‘Joe’ as the default ‘normal’ and the other characters falling outside of it,” she said. That's what we call value. Bedell, an activist and a high school senior in the San Francisco Bay area, was glad to see the announcement from Trader Joe’s but said she wanted the retailer to provide a timeline for the name changes and pull the products in the meantime. The chain is one of many who has been faced with reassessing their brand’s racist history and/or marketing. She said the controversial approach to naming “may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness.” However, Friend-Daniel said, “we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day.”, In a statement to CBS News, the brand added: “While this approach to product naming may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day.”, While many of the offending product packaging has already been changed, according to the brand, Trader Joe’s also told the publication they plan to finish changing over all packaging “very soon.”. “While this approach to product naming may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day,” company spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel said. The Trader Joe’s branding is racist because it exoticizes other cultures – it presents “Joe” as the default “normal” and the other characters falling outside of it – they are “Arabian Joe,” “Trader José,” and “Trader Joe … “We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of parent company Quaker Foods North America, said last month. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. The companies behind Cream of Wheat porridge, Uncle Ben’s rice and Mrs. Butterworth’s pancake syrups also have committed to reviewing and changing their product names and packaging, after relying on branding that evokes racist stereotypes of subservience. Bidell’s petition, which has drawn more than 2,800 signatures, also criticized the use of “Arabian Joe” to brand Middle Eastern foods, “Trader Giotto’s” for Italian goods, and “Trader Joe San” for Japanese cuisine. But a Change.org petition criticizing what it called “racist branding and packaging” apparently helped fast-track the process. The brand had been criticized for years for perpetuating and profiting from the “mammy” figure. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! ©2020 Verizon Media. The grocer said that it already has changed the packaging on a number of products and that it expects to complete the process “very soon.”. Trader Joe’s said the naming conventions were intended to be playful but acknowledged they may have had the “opposite effect.”. Today, now headquartered in nearby Monrovia, the grocer — known for low prices and associates in festive Aloha shirts — has more than 500 locations in 42 states and the District. Trader Joe’s is doing away with store brand labels derided as racist in an online petition, becoming the latest major company to end the use of names and images that perpetuate stereotypes. Last month, Quaker Oats said it would begin to phase out the Aunt Jemima name and logo from its syrup and pancake mix later this year. Trader Joe’s is one of several brands to pivot away from marketing and naming conventions rooted in racial stereotypes. Inside Trader Joe's - a Podcast - episode 30 available From our humble beginnings as a small chain of eclectic Southern California convenience stores, Trader Joe’s has grown to become a national chain of 514 (and counting) neighborhood grocery stores, employing more than 45,000 Crew Members. Trader Joe’s did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. Trader Joe's Says It's Rebranding Some Products After Petition Calls Them Racist. Privately held Trader Joe’s opened its first store in Pasadena, Calif., in 1967. Eskimo Pie Drops 'Derogatory' Name After Nearly A Century, Mrs. Butterworth's, Cream Of Wheat Vow To Review Packaging To Address Racism, Uncle Ben’s ‘Evolving’ Its Brand Identity After Aunt Jemima Name Change. Trader Joe’s announced that it has been working on repackaging its international food products for “several years” after a widespread petition called out the grocery chain out for their “racist branding and packaging.”, A petition created earlier this month took aim at Trader Joe’s “ethnic foods” and noted that they belie “a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”, “For example, ‘Trader Ming’s’ is used to brand the chain’s Chinese food, ‘Arabian Joe’ brands Middle Eastern foods, ‘Trader José’ brands Mexican foods, ‘Trader Giotto’s’ is for Italian food, and ‘Trader Joe San’ brands their Japanese cuisine,” reads the petition. “When anyone chooses to represent a culture, especially one that’s not their own, it is necessary to take measures to ensure that they are not furthering prejudice, discrimination or misunderstanding, regardless of the intention,” she said. Trader Joe's is a neighborhood grocery store with amazing food and drink from around the globe and around the corner. Great quality at great prices. By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, Briones Bedell, who launched the petition, National Football League team announced it will retire the name. Last year, it had an estimated $13.7 billion in net sales. The petition also took issue with the chain’s founder, Joe Coulombe, taking “inspiration in building the Trader Joe’s brand from a racist book and a controversial theme park attraction, both of which have received criticism for romanticizing Western Imperialism and fetishizing non-Western peoples.” The petition points to the chain’s website, which claims Coulombe was inspired by the book “White Shadows in the South Seas” and the Disneyland Jungle Trip ride. Spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel told NPR on Monday that the brand “made the decision several years ago to use only the Trader Joe’s name on our products moving forward” and “had hoped that the work would be complete by now but there are still a small number of products going through the packaging change and we expect to be done very soon.”. And after two decades of resisting calls to change the name of the Washington football franchise, which has been protested as a slur against Native Americans, the National Football League team announced it will retire the name, and is expected to choose a new one before the regular season begins in September. Part of HuffPost Business. All rights reserved. The grocer said it had decided years ago to adopt the Trader Joe’s banner on its entire product lineup, instead of using such ethnic-sounding variations as Trader Jose’s on Mexican food products and Trader Ming’s on Chinese fare. The company said in a statement that it decided several years ago to use only the Trader Joe’s name on its products and has been in the process of updating the ethnic-sounding labels. The brand claims it decided to repackage products labeled "Trader Ming's," "Trader Giotto's," "Arabian Joe," and more "several years ago," not because of the petition. “The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of ‘Joe’ that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes,” writes Briones Bedell, who launched the petition.

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