`Trader Joe's Rebrands Some Controversial Products Amid Criticism - Olive Oil Times

Trader Joe's Rebrands Some Controversial Products Amid Criticism

Jul. 23, 2020
Daniel Dawson

Recent News

The pres­sure is grow­ing for the American gro­cery store chain, Trader Joe’s, to rebrand some of its eth­nic food prod­ucts, includ­ing its pri­vate-label olive oil.

An online peti­tion has gath­ered nearly 4,300 sig­na­tures demand­ing the multi-bil­lion dol­lar chain remove racist pack­ag­ing” from some of their prod­ucts.

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We demand that Trader Joe’s remove racist brand­ing and pack­ag­ing from its stores,” peti­tion author Briones Bedell wrote. The gro­cery chain labels some of its eth­nic foods with mod­i­fi­ca­tions of Joe’ that belies a nar­ra­tive of exoti­cism that per­pet­u­ates harm­ful stereo­types.”

Among the brands sin­gled out in the com­plaint was Trader José,’ which includes a gar­lic-infused organic Spanish extra vir­gin olive oil, and Trader Giotto,’ which is embla­zoned on its Sicilian selezione extra vir­gin olive oil.

Other eth­nic monikers men­tioned in the peti­tion were Trader Ming’s,’ which is used for the company’s East Asian food prod­ucts, Arabian Joe,’ for Middle Eastern foods and Trader Joe San,’ for the company’s Japanese cui­sine.

The demand for Trader Joe’s to rebrand the items comes after sev­eral promi­nent food pro­duc­ers have decided to do the same. Earlier this month, Quaker Oats announced it would rebrand its Aunt Jemima syrup and Mars said it would do the same with Uncle Ben’s rice. In June, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream announced that it will change the name of its Eskimo pies.

In response to the peti­tion, Trader Joe’s said they began rebrand­ing their prod­ucts to say Trader Joe’s’ in 2017 and have made the changes to 90 per­cent of their offer­ings. However, the com­pany did not say when it would com­plete the changes.

Throughout our his­tory, the name on our pack­ag­ing has included vari­a­tions on Trader Joe’s, which were rooted in an appre­ci­a­tion for dif­fer­ent cul­tures and an attempt to have some fun with our prod­uct mar­ket­ing,” the com­pany wrote in a state­ment on their web­site.

Over the years, cus­tomers have con­veyed con­fu­sion about these alter­na­tive names… We’ve also received some feed­back that ques­tions their appro­pri­ate­ness,” the state­ment con­tin­ues. We reserve the right to mar­ket our prod­ucts as we see fit. We do not make deci­sions based on peti­tions. We lis­ten to our cus­tomers and crew mem­bers.”


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