Why Did It Take So Long for Food Companies to Rebrand their Racist Products?

"The response to the company’s rebrands and their financial commitments to foster racial equity has been mixed. Consumers across the political spectrum have questioned whether these image overhauls were necessary, arguing that characters like the Land O’Lakes maiden weren’t really stereotypes. On the other hand, scholars told Civil Eats that the changes at these food labels were long overdue, and they question why it took a year of unprecedented outcry over racial injustice to usher in these rebrands. It’s also important, they say, that these changes not be surface level but part of a sustained effort toward compensating communities of color for capitalizing on racial caricatures.

'I feel bad that it took George Floyd’s tragic death and protests unfolding in all 50 states and around the world to be the tipping point toward measurable changes—that it’s taken so long,” said Riché Richardson, an associate professor in Cornell University’s Africana Studies and Research Center. “But it’s definitely important for the change not to merely be cosmetic. It’s important to dig deep to grapple with what is at stake in these images and the serious damage they do.'"

Read the entire article in Civil Eats

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Professor Riche Richardson