Trader Joe’s is renaming their lines of international food products after coming under fire of a Change.org petition.
More than 4,000 people have signed a petition urging Trader Joe’s to change the names of their international products.
A California high-school senior, Briones Bedell, started the petition two weeks ago. She says the brand is ‘racist.’
“The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of [the word] “Joe” that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes,” Bedell wrote.
Bedell cited a number of examples including “Trader Giotto’s” found on the store’s Italian food, “Trader José,” found it its Mexican products, and “Trader Ming’s,” the grocery chain’s label for its Chinese products.
“The Trader Joe’s branding is racist because it exoticizes other cultures – it presents “Joe” as the default ‘normal’ and the other characters falling outside of it – they are “Arabian Joe,” “Trader José,” and “Trader Joe San,” the petition reads.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Kenya Friend-Daniel, a spokeswoman for Trader Joe’s, “acknowledged that its approach to product naming, rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness … may now have the opposite effect.”
Trader Joe’s is the latest brand to be under fire for its products. According to CNN, many companies are rebranding due to the widespread protests over racial inequality following the death of George Floyd.
Quaker Oats is retiring its ‘Aunt Jemima’ syrup and Land O’Lakes has removed the image of a Native American woman from its butter products. The brands acknowledged their logos were based on racial stereotypes.
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