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Pepsi Rebrands Aunt Jemima, Is Set to Report Earnings Thursday

Beverage maker PepsiCo rebranded its pancake products to Pearl Milling because of a backlash against Aunt Jemima's racist imagery.

Consumer-goods giant PepsiCo  (PEP)  rebranded its pancakes products to Pearl Milling Co., dropping the Aunt Jemima name, saying the original brand's origins were based on a racial stereotype.

The Purchase, N.Y., beverage and snack major on Thursday reports fourth-quarter earnings. Analysts surveyed by FactSet are estimating Pepsi earned $1.43 a share on a GAAP basis, or an adjusted $1.46, on revenue of $21.8 billion.

The rebranding of the Aunt Jemima pancake mixes, syrups, cornmeal, flour, and grits products comes after criticism for its imagery.

Products will continue to be available under the Aunt Jemima name without the character image until June, the company said. The new packaging will retain much of the current colors and design.

Shares of Pepsi at last check were off 0.8% at $138.49.

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Pearl Milling Co. was the creator of the original pancake mix, first marketed as “Self-Rising Pancake Flour,” before it was trademarked in 1890 under the Aunt Jemima brand.

Quaker Oats Co. signed the contract to purchase the Aunt Jemima brand in 1925. 

“Our changes are in line with PepsiCo’s journey toward racial equality, and the evolution will help carry the 130-year-old brand into the future,” PepsiCo said, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

In June, last year, Pepsi's Quaker Oats said it would retire the Aunt Jemima brand, since its origins are “based on a racial stereotype.” Pepsi also pledged a $5 million commitment to support the black community.

The company said that in coming weeks Pearl Milling would also unveil the details of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift black girls and women.