Intelwars Petition racist record statement Trader joe's branding

Trader Joe’s sets the record straight after being accused of ‘racist’ branding

Trader Joe’s made headlines last week after The Washington Post, CNN, and others reported that the grocer would be pulling several in-house brand names from their shelves in reaction to an online petition accusing the chain of “racist packaging” for its marketing of certain products.

But Trader Joe’s says the media got it wrong, and has issued a statement to clear up any misunderstanding.

What are the details?

In a post to their website, Trader Joe’s wrote:

A few weeks ago, an online petition was launched calling on us to ‘remove racist packaging from [our] products.’ Following were inaccurate reports that the petition prompted us to take action. We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions.

The retailer explained that the names targeted by the petition—”like Trader Giotto’s, Trader José’s, Trader Ming’s, etc.”—”have been really popular” with customers, and many will remain on their shelves for that reason.

Trader Joe’s also argued that their “fun” product names were intended to “show appreciation for other cultures,” and that they “have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended.”

Conservative co-host of The View, Meghan McCain, praised the grocer’s announcement, tweeting, “Pitch perfect response from Trader Joes to one of the dumbest twitter mob non-controversies ever. Glad they won’t be bending the knee to the mob over…gucamole (sic).”

What was the original statement?

After the online petition started by a high school senior garnered 2,800 signatures calling for Trader Joe’s to rename their “offensive” brands, a company spokesperson issued a statement saying:

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 that we strive to create every day.

The Post went on to report that “the grocer said that it already has changed the packaging on a number of products and that it expects to complete the process ‘very soon.'”

Intelwars Racism racist trader joe's Trader joe's branding

Trader Joe’s to change its ‘racist’ branding ASAP following online petitioners’ demands

Grocery retailer Trader Joe’s says it will remove all of its “racist packaging” as soon as possible as prompted by a petition.

What are the details?

The store — which has more than 500 stores across the U.S. — said that some of its branding was determined to be offensive.

The company says that it will no longer use terms like “Arabian Joe,” “Trader Jose’s,” “Trader Ming’s,” “Arabian Joe,” and more.

According to the Washington Post, the grocer “years ago” decided to adopt the traditional Trader Joe’s branding on all of its products in lieu of using “ethnic-sounding variations such as Trader Jose’s on Mexican food products and Trader Ming’s on Chinese fare.”

The petition — which has about 3,000 signatures so far — reportedly helped “fast-track” the process, the outlet reported.

The petition’s 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. The Trader Joe’s branding is racist because it exoticizes other cultures — it presents ‘Joe’ as the default ‘normal’ and the other characters falling outside of it.”

A spokesperson for the company told CNN, “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. Packaging for a number of the products has already been changed, but there’s a small number of products in which the packaging is still going through the process.”

What else?

Bedell told the Post that it’s important that companies with large platforms such as that of Trader Joe’s responsibly use its voice.

“When anyone chooses to represent a culture, especially one that’s not their own, it is necessary to take measures to ensure that they are not furthering prejudice, discrimination, or misunderstanding, regardless of the intention,” she said.