Updated: July 30, 2020
It seems as if Trader Joe's has reversed their decision to rebrand some of their international foods. According to an announcement on their website, "We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions. " The names of the packaging were originally meant to be fun "and show appreciation for other cultures."
The original article continues below:
The California-based grocery chain is pulling select Trader Joe's products in response to an online petition stating that the grocery store is selling products with "racist branding and packaging." On Monday morning the online Change.org petition had received over 2,400 signatures, criticizing how the company uses Trader Joe's name to perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Some product names include Trader Ming's and Trader José.
The petition written by Briones Bedell is as follows:
We demand that Trader Joe's remove racist branding and packaging from its stores. The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of "Joe" that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes. For example, "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.
The petition comes a month after Aunt Jemima decided to rebrand due to racial stereotypes.
Trader Joe's to Remove Trader Ming's, Trader José Name From Packaging
Within hours, Trader Joes responded, sharing that the brand names will be changing very soon. While the company has been slowly phasing Trader Joe's branding to eliminate these questionable names, it's still found on popular products today. At one point Trader Joe's had all of these variations on the Joe name according to a Quora post.
- Trader Jose's (Mexican food)
- Trader Ming's (Chinese food)
- Baker Josef's (flour and bagels)
- Trader Giotto's (Italian food)
- Trader Joe-San (Japanese food)
- Arabian Joe's (Middle Eastern food)
- Pilgrim Joe's (New England specialties, like clam chowder)
- JosephsBrau (beer)
- Trader Johann's (lip balm)
- Trader Jacque's (French food and soaps)
- Joe's Diner (certain frozen entrees)
- Joe's Kids (children's food)
- Trader Darwin's (vitamins and health supplements)
"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," company spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel said to ABC News.
"We have 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," Friend-Daniel said. "At this time, I don't have an exact date but we expect to have the work completed very soon. 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."
50-Pack Face Masks
Keep an eye out at your local Trader Joe's in the next couple of weeks for the changes. And remember coronavirus pandemic is still out there, so wear face masks in grocery stores.