Trader Joe’s has decided against rebranding some of its international food labels and denies accusations that the packaging is racist, according to Fox Business.
Earlier this month, the company stated that it is replacing “any variations” on the name Trader Joe’s.
However, the company seemed to reverse course and announced on its website that it will keep “products that resonate with our customers” on the shelves.
The chain has used names like Trader Giotto’s, Trader José’s and Trader Ming’s on international foods for decades.
“Recently we have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended—as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing,” the company wrote.
A petition was organized at Change.org by California high school senior Briones Bedell demanding changes to Trader Joe’s branding.
It has received more than 4,800 signatures, but the chain said it does “not make decisions based on petitions.”
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The carefully-crafted facade of your friendly neighborhood hipster grocery store belies a darker image; one that romanticizes imperialism, fetishizes native cultures, and casually misappropriates. https://t.co/rxR4nvflUU #TraderJoes
— Briones Bedell (@BrionesBedell) July 8, 2020
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Trader Joe’s has not responded to a request for comment on which labels will be continued.
The grocery chain affirmed that it is discontinuing some older names or product lines that weren’t selling well following a review that began a couple of years ago…
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The petition demanded that Trader Joe’s packaging “belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”
The grocer said it bases its decisions on feedback from customers and crew members and that if it feels there is a need for a change, the company will “not hesitate to take action.”
Earlier this month, the company noted that while the variations on “Joe’s” “may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect.”
“We made the decision several years ago to use only the Trader Joe’s name on our products moving forward,” Kenya Friend-Daniel, Trader Joe’s national director of public relations, had said. “Since then, we have been in the process of updating older labels and replacing any variations with the name Trader Joe’s, and we will continue do so until we complete this important work.”
No date had been set for when the packaging was supposed to be updated.