Add another venerable brand to the list of companies under review.
After decisions by Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s to overhaul their imaging in the wake of renewed calls for racial equality, Conagra Brands announced Wednesday it has “begun a complete brand and packaging review on Mrs. Butterworth’s.”
Though there have been debates over Mrs. Butterworth’s race, some have associated the shape of the brand’s syrup bottles with the offensive “Mammy” racial caricature of stereotype for Black women.
“The Mrs. Butterworth’s brand, including its syrup packaging, is intended to evoke the images of a loving grandmother,” Conagra Brands said in a statement Wednesday. “We stand in solidarity with our Black and Brown communities and we can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values.”
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The company said its actions “help play an important role in eliminating racial bias.”
“It’s heartbreaking and unacceptable that racism and racial injustices exist around the world,” Conagra’s statement said. “We will be part of the solution. Let’s work together to progress toward change.”
Pancake syrup company Aunt Jemima, owned by Quaker Oats, said Wednesday that it would retire Aunt Jemina from packaging on its brand of syrup and pancake mixes because it’s “based on a racial stereotype.” It acknowledged that its prior work to update the character was “not enough.”
Mars-owned Uncle Ben’s said it plans to change its rice but said in a news release that it didn’t know “what the exact changes or timing will be, but we are evaluating all possibilities.”
Contributing: Dalvin Brown
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko