Trader Joe’s says product labels targeted by the petition are not racist

Following criticism of a petition a few weeks ago dismissing the product’s name as “racist”, Trader Joe’s offered some insight into its product-naming process, stating that it disagreed with the claim That its products should be construed as racist.

“A few weeks ago, an online petition to remove racist packaging was called upon us [our] Products. ‘Following the following incorrect reports, the petition prompted us to take action, “reads a statement posted on Trader Joe’s website on July 24.” We want to be clear: We disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions.

“We make decisions based on customers’ purchases,” the statement said. “If we feel that a change is needed, we do not hesitate to take action.”

The company explained that it “constantly reevaluates.”[s]”To your products” to ensure that it makes sense for our business and aligns with customer expectations. “In a product evaluation two years ago, the company said that it had decided to discontinue the items and product names that were not linking to it. The website mentioned that customers did not sell well.

The grocery chain also reiterated the fact that its product names – Trader Geotaps, Trader Ming, and even a mathematical theory-themed product name, “Avocado’s Number” – meant “fun for other cultures. And show of appreciation “.

Earlier, in response to initial requests for comment when the petition first aired online, Trader Joe’s took a different tone on product names, stating at first that the naming conventions were “rooted in a dull effort to be inclusive.” May “and accepting that. How can this happen today.

“… [W]E recognize that it can now have the opposite effect – one that contradicts the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day, ”said Kenya Friend-Daniel, National Director of Public Relations for Trader Jose SFGate in an earlier statement.

The statement further stated, “With this in mind, we decided years ago to use Trader Joe’s name on our products.” “Since then, we are in the process of updating the old label and replacing any changes with Trader Joe’s name, and we will continue to do so until we complete this important task.”

Oakley’s 17-year-old Briones Bedell is the author of that original online petition, and in an interview with The Chronicle, some of his arguments are behind the petition.

“… I think the central issue in the midst of all this is that when no community is allowed control over their representation, it is permissible to maintain harmful stereotypes and caricatures,” Bedel chronicle told. “I think we can derive and apply some of the lessons learned in the field of intangible cultural content protecting other instances of cultural insensitivity, as Trader Ming’s Trader Joe’s, Jose, Thai Joe’s Trader Joe’s In the case of branding ethnic foods with these names., Etc. “

“I felt that branding was insensitive, and when you put it in this larger context of Trader Joe’s corporate brand philosophy, it became more clear that tone is a real issue of systemic or institutional racism rather than just deafness,” she later said. Added to. . (The entire interview can be read here.)

Bedell addressed Trader Joe’s initial response here in his own words, as well as commenting on the company’s latest statement, typing the responses as “contradictory” and asking that the company “clarify which branded products it modified Will go. “

Indeed, in his post from last week, Trader Joe’s did not mention any progress made or future plans to get rid of specific product names, instead stating that it had heard from customers that the product names ” Largely viewed in exactly the same way as “intention – trying to have fun with our product marketing.” “

The full, most recent statement from Trader Joe’s can be found here.

Dianne de Guzman is the Food + Beverage Editor at SFGATE. Email: [email protected]

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