Eskimo Pie Drops ‘Derogatory’ Name After Nearly A Century

The company behind Eskimo Pie announced that it will drop the name of the nearly 100-year-old chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar, following similar moves by other food companies in the United States to revise their marketing following racial injustice protests.

Elizabell Marquez, head of marketing for Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, the company behind Eskimo Pie, said in a Friday statement that the name is ’“derogatory” and that Dreyer’s is committed to “being a part of the solution on racial equality.”

“This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values,” Marquez said. 

Dreyer’s decision comes after Quaker Oats, the parent company behind Aunt Jemima syrup and pancake mix, announced that it will change that brand’s name, logo and packaging, which was originally inspired by a minstrel song.

Mars, Inc. — the company that distributes Uncle Ben’s rice, whose branding is criticized as a racial stereotype — announced that the brand will be “evolving” following the Aunt Jemima decision.

Conagra Brands, which owns Mrs. Butterworth’s brand pancake syrup, said it will review the branding and packaging of the product in recognition of the company’s role in “eliminating racial bias.” Similarly, B&G Foods Inc. said it will begin a review of the branding and packaging of its Cream of Wheat hot cereal, which features a Black chef mascot.

The concept of the Eskimo Pie was originally created by Christian Kent Nelson, a confectionary shop owner, in 1920. Nelson reportedly thought of combining chocolate and ice cream after a boy in his store had difficulty deciding which to purchase. Nelson’s business partner, Russell Stover, came up with the name Eskimo Pie a year later. 

Eskimo is a catch-all word that was used by nonnative people to describe the Inuit, Yupik and other indigenous people of northern North America. It is considered “derogatory … because it was given by non-Inuit people and was said to mean ‘eater of raw meat,’” according to the Alaska Native Language Center.

“Linguists now believe that ‘Eskimo’ is derived from an Ojibwa word meaning ‘to net snowshoes,’” the center said, referring to the language of a tribe of indigenous people in the Upper Midwest and Canada. 

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