Black Lives Matter impact: Red Skins, Chicos and Eskimos axed down under as big brands act

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nestle's Red Skins lolly (left) and Tip Top's Eskimo Pie ice cream (right) are some of the products undergoing a brand refresh ©Nestle,TipTop
Nestle's Red Skins lolly (left) and Tip Top's Eskimo Pie ice cream (right) are some of the products undergoing a brand refresh ©Nestle,TipTop

Related tags: Black Lives Matter, Nestlé, Australia, New zealand, Confectionery

Nestle, Tip Top, and Mondelez in Australia and New Zealand are joining a growing list of companies renaming controversial product names amid the Black Lives Matter movement to end racial stereotyping.

Nestle Australia recently announced its plan to rename its Red Skins and Chicos lollies sold under the Allen’s brand.

In an official statement, the company said: “These names have overtones which are out of step with Nestle’s values, which are rooted in respect​.”

Redskin is a derogatory term for Native Americans while Chico can be an offensive term for people of Latin-American descent.

Nestle added: “This decision acknowledges the need to ensure that nothing we do marginalises our friends, neighbours and colleagues​.”

The products are currently sold only in Australia. The company said new names for these products have not been finalised yet, but once completed, will be changed immediately.

FoodNavigator-Asia​ confirmed with Nestle that the Red Skins and Chicos lollies will continue to be on the shelves for now.

Eskimo ends

Another company set to change its product name is New Zealand’s ice cream company Tip Top. It is changing the name of its Eskimo Pie ice cream bar product.

According to the Alaska Native Language Center, Eskimo is commonly used in Alaska to refer to all Inuit and Yupik people of the world, however this name is considered derogatory in many other places given by non-Inuit people and was said to mean "eater of raw meat."

Ben Schurr, Tip Top director told us: “Tip Top first introduced Eskimo Pies in the 1940s and it is still the top-selling multipack in New Zealand today. Over that time, the name has changed meaning and we acknowledge that​.

We have been considering renaming this product and removing the Eskimo character from the packaging for a while now, so we’re making plans to put the changes in place over the next few months​.”

Another New Zealand confectionery manufacturer Pascall also plans to rename its Eskimo lollies.

This was not the first time Pascall had faced objections to its lollies. In 2009, controversy rose after a Canadian tourist, an Inuit visiting the country called out the lollies for being offensive and an insult. At that time, Pascall had no plans to rename its Eskimo lollies.

This time, Mondelez New Zealand, which owns Pascall told Stuff New Zealand that the name and branding change of its Eskimos lollies was in progress and would be rolled out as soon as possible.

The Black Lives Matter movement was sparked by the murder of George Floyd in US, and has resulted in companies around the world from food to cosmetics to make changes to its branding.

In the US, Mars is reviewing its Uncle Ben’s rice and Conagra its Mrs Butterworth’s syrup. Mars wrote in a statement: "As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the Black community, and to the voices of our Associates worldwide, we recognise that now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do​.”

PepsiCo-owned Quaker Oats is also scrapping its Aunt Jemima’s branding on the back of heavy criticism based on racial stereotypes.

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