Food Trader Joe's to Change the Names of These Popular Items
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Beloved national grocery chainis phasing out some of their brand names long used for ethnic food products amid growing pressure that the names are "racist." Some of the labels that include Mexican foods packaged under the brand "Trader Jose's" and Chinese foods sold under "Trader Ming's."
The change comes after more than 1,400 people signed alaunched by 17-year-old high school student Briones Bedell in California, who urged that Trader Joe's "remove racist branding and packaging from its stores."
Trader Joe's to Change the Names of These Popular Items
Trader Joe's is making some changes amid criticism that their in-house brand names for ethnic cuisines are racially insensitive.The change comes after more than 1,400 people signed a Change.org petition launched by 17-year-old high school student Briones Bedell in California, who urged that Trader Joe's "remove racist branding and packaging from its stores.
The petition, which has received national media attention over the past few days, goes on to assert: "The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of 'Joe' that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes." It lists examples, like, "'Trader Ming's' is used to brand the chain's Chinese food, 'Arabian Joe' brands Middle Eastern foods, 'Trader José' brands Mexican foods, 'Trader Giotto's' is for Italian food, and 'Trader Joe San' brands their Japanese cuisine."
In a statement published by the, a corporate spokesperson for Trader Joe's revealed that the ethnocentric approach to product names was initially "rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness," but acknowledged that "it may now have the opposite effect—one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day."
Bored of baking? 10 Trader Joe’s desserts for any occasion
Save room in your shopping cart for these sweets.So why should dessert be any different? Some people love the store's seasonal finds like apple cider donuts in the fall or Peppermint Joe Joe’s around the winter holidays, while others prefer classics like the New York-style cheesecake and frozen banana slices dipped in chocolate.
The decision to remove these private-label brand names is not in response to the petition, however, according to Trader Joe's national director of public relations, Kenya Friend-Daniel, who told the NY Times, "We made the decision several years ago to use only the Trader Joe's name on our products moving forward… 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."
Trader Joe'stells how and why the store initially opened with a nautical theme as "it was run by people who were described as 'traders on the high seas.'" The store's founder, Joe Coulombe, was inspired by a book he was reading called White Shadows in the South Seas, as well as a recent experience he had on Disneyland's Jungle Trip ride. "To this day, Trader Joe's Crew Members consider themselves 'traders on the culinary seas' and are known for their bright, tropical-patterned shirts and for generally being nice, helpful, and well informed," the story explains.
Trader Joe's Just Backtracked on This Big Brand Name Change
Trader Joe's said it would change the names of its international food line after a petition addressing its stereotypes went viral, but now, it's backtracking.The petition, titled "Trader Joe's: Remove Racist Packaging From Your Products," was started on Change.org by 17-year-old high school student, Briones Bedell, in California. "The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of 'Joe' that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes," Bedell wrote.
But now, Coulombe's approach is being called out by theas being inspired by "a racist book and a controversial theme park attraction, both of which have received criticism for romanticizing Western Imperialism and fetishizing non-Western peoples."
Friend-DanielTrader Joe's has "been in the process of updating older labels and replacing any variations with the name Trader Joe's, and we will continue to do so until we complete this important work."
The grocery store chain is the latest in a long line of food-related companies that haveamid a national reckoning on race that followed the civil unrest that came from George Floyd's killing and the Black Live Matters protests that ensued. Here is a list of the as a result.
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