The Meaning Behind Aunt Jemima's New Name

It's been a bit of a wild ride for Quaker Oats, but after months of what we can only imagine as being filled with head scratching and brain storming, company executives have finally been able to rebrand and relaunch the pancake brand we all grew up calling "Aunt Jemima." And they've even managed to make the packaging look similar too. In order to do that, PepsiCo and Quaker Oats dug deep into the brand's roots and came up with a legit name that would represent Aunt Jemima's roots in an authentic way, and they came up with "Pearl Milling Company." 

CNN reports that PepsiCo, which owns the Quaker Oats and Aunt Jemima brands, bought the rights to the brand name and the logo on Feb. 1. The name is perfect for the rebranding, because Pearl Milling Company actually has links to Aunt Jemima. A company statement says that "Though new to store shelves, Pearl Milling Company was founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and was the originator of the iconic self-rising pancake mix that would later become known as Aunt Jemima" (via Today).

Aunt Jemima products will be rebranded as "Pearl Milling Company"

Chris Rutt and Charles Underwood created the Aunt Jemima brand in 1889, per ABC. In an op-ed written for The New York Times, Cornell University academic Riche Richardson says the Aunt Jemima logo itself sprang out of what she called "Old South plantation nostalgia and romance" surrounding the idea of a "mammy" who took care of the plantation owner's children. That logo eventually became one of the oldest trademarks in U.S. advertising history.

It wasn't until June of last year that PepsiCo and Quaker Oats were forced to concede that it was time to put the brand behind them. In a statement made to NBC News last year, Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America said, "We recognize Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype. While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough."

Pearl Milling Company's distinctive red and gold packaging will appear on store shelves in June of this year (via Today).