I’m not a fan of Trader Joe’s (and really never have been) and one of the reasons why has been their jokey names of their house brands. “Trader Ming’s,” “Trader José,” or “Trader Giotto’s” had all the subtlety of those old Charlie Chan movies and the Frito Bandito. What’s next, O’Trader Joe’s Irish Whisky?
Buying those products made me feel like I was condoning the implicit slurs and indeed part of the problem. I solved the problem by not buying those brands at all, and eventually not shopping at TJ’s at all. (I have other issues with TJ’s that I might go into some other time.)
So I was pleased to read that they are FINALLY getting rid of their casual racism/ethnic jokery brands:
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Responding to calls for Trader Joe’s to stop labeling its international food products with ethnic-sounding names, the grocery store chain said it has been in a yearslong process of repackaging those products and will soon complete the work…
The company said in a statement that it decided several years ago to use only the Trader Joe’s name on its products and has been in the process of updating the ethnic-sounding labels.
“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,” company spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel said.”
And in related news, King Arthur Flour is rebranding and changing it’s name to King Arthur Baking:
The rebrand of King Arthur Flour reflects what the company has always been: a company of bakers who believe in the power of baking to forge community and bring joy. The new logo, which features a wheat crown, celebrates the brand’s commitment to baking.
And you might ask me why I am including it in this round-up of significant removal of white-privilege branding, and my answer is that having a White Knight on horseback —presumably from one of the Crusades (complete with a Christian cross!)— on its label was always very off-putting; one of my jewish friends on principle would never buy it.
(The link shows the new logos.)
It’s a good change, but I wish that they had kept the elegant calligraphy-style type as a tie-in to the Arthurian legends on which the brand is based.