The pancake mix and syrup line Aunt Jemima has formally rebranded itself as “The Pearl Milling Company,” parent company PepsiCo announced Tuesday.
The rebranding effort was inspired by the milling company in St. Joseph, Missouri, which pioneered the pancake mix in 1888 that became known as Aunt Jemima, according to a press release.
“The name and image of Aunt Jemima… do not reflect our core values,” the AuntJemima.com website now reads. The legacy Aunt Jemima products will continue to be sold until June, when the rebranded labels will arrive in stores.
The company announced last June that the Aunt Jemima brand would be retired due to criticism of alleged racial stereotypes, vowing to “make progress toward racial equity” as protests raged nationwide over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Quaker Oats, owned by PepsiCo, said it would also donate $5 million “‘to create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”
In Tuesday’s press release, the company said it soon reveal the recipients of a $1 million donation to organizations that “empower and uplift Black girls and women” as part of the rebranding effort.
Several relatives say the company is snubbing the women who have played the “Aunt Jemima” character, including descendants of Anna Short Harrington and cousins of Lillian Richard. Nancy Green, a trailblazing black woman who birthed the “Aunt Jemima” character, was born a slave in Kentucky but became one of the first black corporate models in the nation.