B&G Foods announced that it will be moving the Black chef character from the Cream of Wheat box. The decision to move character came after recent racial uprisings in American created a movement for businesses and organizations to remove racially insensitive images.
The company will roll out new packaging with a different image in the first quarter of 2021.
In a statement, B&G Foods said, “We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism. B&G Foods unequivocally stands against prejudice and injustice of any kind.”
Back in June, the company announced that it would be taking a closer look at the character on the packaging due to concerns that were brought to its attention
In a statement to Forbes, the company expressed that it investigated the history of the image and found that it was possibly fashioned after an actual Black chef in Chicago named Frank White.
White was an immigrant from Barbados who was a Black master chef in a Chicago restaurant. He posed for that picture that is currently used on Cream of White boxes in 1900.
However, the product’s original featured Rastus, a stereotypical Black man that was associated with caricatures in minstrel shows.
B&G Foods is not the only parent company to rethink its use of a Black character on its packaging. Mars Inc., the parent company of Uncle Ben’s, announced that it will be rebranding its products as Ben’s Original, which includes removing its Black character.
After protests following the death of George Floyd, many companies and organizations moved to get rid of offensive images, as demonstrated when the NFL’s Washington Redskins changed its name to the Washington Football Team and ditched its Native American mascot.
As for other food brands, Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth, and Eskimo Pie are all looking to rebrand themselves, distancing themselves from their old packages associated with stereotypical depictions of people of color.