EDITORS NOTE – Is ‘Cracker Barrel’ restaurant next?
B&G Foods, under fire for the racist origins of the mascot for Cream Of Wheat, became the fourth company to announce a design rethink Wednesday amid mounting public pressure.
- B&G said in a statement that the company is “initiating an immediate review of the Cream of Wheat brand packaging.”
- Cream of Wheat has been criticized for the chef character Rastus that has been featured on its packaging since 1890 and whose name is widely considered derogatory to black men.
- B&G said it recognized public concerns regarding the “Chef image” and committed to proactively take steps to ensure the brand does not “inadvertently contribute to systemic racism.”
- PepsiCo got the ball rolling Wednesday morning with the announcement that it would replace its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup with a completely new brand, responding to long-time denouncements of the racist caricature on its packaging.
- A few hours later, Mars announced a makeover for the Uncle Ben’s brand, saying it would “evolve” the “visual brand” of its rice, which features the likeness of a Black man.
- Shortly after, Conagra Brands said it would carry out a complete brand and packaging review of its pancake syrup brand Mrs. Butterworth’s; the company said the character is meant to evoke “a loving grandma,” but critics have accused the matronly shaped syrup bottles and the character’s portrayal in ads of being rooted in slavery-era mammy stereotypes.