Radio Nibbles: Food Companies Ditch Racist Logos

John Lehndorff joins us from his home in Louisville to talk about dramatic fast-moving changes this week in the food industry in reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests.

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On Wednesday Quaker oats announced that the 130-year old Aunt Jemima pancake brand will get a new name and image, acknowledging that “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”

A racist Aunt Jemima advertisement

“The inspiration for Aunt Jemima came specifically from the song “Old Aunt Jemima” written by a black performer in 1875. It was a staple of the minstrel circuit. “Old Aunt Jemima” was performed by men in blackface,” according to blackexcellence.com. To learn more, read the book “The Jemima Code” by Toni Tipton-Martin.

Meanwhile another iconic brand, Uncle Ben’s, is also getting a makeover. Owner Mars is planning to change the rice maker’s “brand identity.”

In a statement on its website Wednesday, Mars wrote that “now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do.”

Note: Blacks were called “Aunt” and “Uncle” because whites didn’t want to call them “Mrs.” and “Mr.”

In other news, in a set of posts titled A Long-Overdue Apology, and Where We Go From Here staff at Bon Appétit and Epicurious say, “our mastheads have been far too white for far too long. As a result, the recipes, stories, and people we’ve highlighted have too often come from a white-centric viewpoint. At times we have treated non-white stories as “not newsworthy” or “trendy.” Other times we have appropriated, co-opted, and Columbused them.”

The best thing John’s tasted this week: Maine wild blueberry pie at Showboat’s Drive-by Pie in Granby.