Can Trader Joe’s shake off its racist branding tag?
Trader Joe’s has announced that it plans to rename its private label items branded as Trader Giotto, Trader Jose and Trader Ming’s after an online petition signed by more than 1,500 on Change.org called the names racist.
The grocery chain claims that it had undertaken the process of renaming the items even before the petition was launched last week.
“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,” Kenya Friend-Daniel, a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s, said in a statement.
Ms. Friend-Daniel said that Trader Joe’s expected to have the label changes “completed very soon” but was unable to provide an exact date. “Packaging for a number of the products has already been changed, but there’s a small number of products in which the packaging is still going through the process,” she said.
The petition brought against Trader Joe’s and the chain’s response are part of a larger movement to foster racial sensitivity and equality in the wake of protests around the country that followed the death of George Floyd while in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis.
PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats (Aunt Jemima) and Mars (Uncle Ben) are among food companies that have announced name changes and rebranding of products that were said to perpetuate racial stereotypes.
- Trader Joe’s to change product branding after petition calls it ‘racist’ – ABC News
- Petition Urges Trader Joe’s to Get Rid of ‘Racist Branding’ – The New York Times
- Can a box of pancake mix be racist? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has Trader Joe’s image been damaged by charges of “racist branding”? How do you assess Trader Joe’s response to the charges?