Skip to Content
National & World

Trader Joe’s, responding to demands to change its packaging, says the product labels aren’t racist

hypatia-h_7f6352b8c5040adea22236071269a7ec-h_c1ff867a06ed34e9c6e062f2c446b31f_preview

Amidst a reexamination of American culture that has seen numerous racial and ethnic stereotypes dismantled — like the infamous Aunt Jemima — Trader Joe’s persists.

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition calling on the grocery store chain to change what they call its racist branding names, using phrases like “Trader José” “Trader Ming’s” and “San Joe” on some of its international food products.

But Trader Joe’s is defending the practice.

“We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions,” the grocery store said in a statement on July 24.

“Decades ago, our Buying Team started using product names, like Trader Giotto’s, Trader José’s, Trader Ming’s, etc. We thought then — and still do — that this naming of products could be fun and show appreciation for other cultures,” it continued.

The statement is a far cry from the one made just last week by Kenya Friend-Daniel, a spokeswoman for Trader Joe’s, when the petition was first gaining traction.

At that time, Friend-Daniel insinuated the names were already in the process of being changed, a process that would continue.

“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,” she said in a statement to CNN.

“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,” Friend-Daniel added.

That doesn’t seem to be the case now. And the move has particularly been praised by pundits on the right.

“Pitch perfect response from Trader Joes to one of the dumbest twitter mob non-controveries ever. Glad they won’t be bending the knee to the mob over….gucamole,” Meghan McCain wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

Stuart Varney, a Fox News commentator, called the move by Trader Joe’s a “win for sanity.”

The problem, according to the petition and those on its side, is that this kind of packaging exoticizes other cultures — presenting “Joe” as the norm and Ming, San Joe, José, and so on, as falling outside of that realm.

In its most recent statement, Trader Joe’s asserts that customer feedback revealed its clientele is unbothered by this “fun” approach to product marketing.

“Recently we have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended — as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing,” the statement said. “We continue our ongoing evaluation, and those products that resonate with our customers and sell well will remain on our shelves.”

News

CNN

Comments

21 Comments

  1. Well while were at it we might as well change the names of the black and white crayons to. Oh and don’t forget the red one and brown one I’m sure there insulting some little liberals brain out there somewhere.

  2. So only 5000+ fools were willing to sign what I think is a stupid petition. Terrifying is that about 50 million people in this country voted for a guy that makes a big deal about these stupid little petitions that make headlines.

  3. Asphalt is racist black. BLM is the most racist organization on earth. NAACP is a close 2nd. I haven’t read an article in 3 months that didn’t have the word racist in it. I just want you to know; I hate you all equally!! Go Washington Black Panderers!

  4. Change.org, the petition originators, is a group that needs to be soundly ridiculed. Their misguided political correctness has been taken to the point of blithering idiocy. Conspiracy theorist might even believe Change.org has become a tool to make the Left look like naive infants without so much as a clue.

  5. You could be Mother Theresa and there would be lefties that would sign a petition against you and democrat politicians pandering to those people that signed it. That’s one of the great things about Trump, he will just straight up say these people are stupid instead of trying to pander to every stupid group like every democratic politician.

  6. Finally someone realizes that this country has gotten worse not because of trump but because of the other fella before him. Thank you for posting that.#trump2020

Leave a Reply