Two weeks after an online petition launched calling for Trader Joe’s to “remove racist branding and packaging,” the grocery chain says it’s changing the names of its international food lines. The AP reports that the company says it’s been going through a “yearslong process” of repacking for products like Trader Ming’s and Arabian Joe’s, which it says will soon be completed. A Trader Joe’s spokesperson says in a statement that while the naming system was conceived as “a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect.” According to that spokesperson, some product lines have already changed.
The petition was started by a San Francisco high-school student, Briones Bedell, who also criticizes the inspiration for the store’s theme, White Shadows in the South Seas and Disneyland’s Jungle Triple ride, as being rooted in racist tropes and stereotypes. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Bedell put the petition in the context of the current moment, acknowledging existential issues like police brutality and saying that the time is right to question “microaggressions” like Trader Joe’s branding.
Here’s a list of Trader Joe’s food product lines:
Trader Joe San