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A petition was started for Trader Joe’s to change its packaging. Here’s what’s going on

Citing Trader Joe’s international food labeling such as “Trader Ming’s” as racist

SHARE A petition was started for Trader Joe’s to change its packaging. Here’s what’s going on
Trader Joe’s at 634 E. 400 South in Salt Lake City opens its first Utah location on Friday at 8 a.m.

Trader Joe’s at 634 E. 400 South in Salt Lake City opens its first Utah location on Friday at 8 a.m.

Ben Brewer, Deseret News

A petition has been created to have Trader Joe’s change its ethnic food packaging, calling the branding “racist.” Since the petition was created, it has gained almost 3,000 signatures.

What’s going on:

  • Trader Joe’s uses modifications of the “Joe” to label their ethnic foods. For example, the company uses “Trader Ming’s” for its Chinese products, “Trader José” for Mexican products, “Trader Giotto’s” for Italian, “Trader Joe San” for Japanese, and “Arabian Joe” for Middle Eastern, according to CNN.
  • The petition cites that, “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.”

What’s being done:

  • A spokesperson for Trader Joe’s said to USA Today in a statement: “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,”
  • The company said it is in the process of updating its labels and replacing any of the name variants.
  • “We will continue do so until we complete this important work,” according to USA Today.

The bigger picture:

  • This comes after many companies have decided to change their old and outdated labeling
  • According to CNN, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s, among others, have made the decision to either change or retire their product packaging.