Trader Joe’s, responding to packaging change requests, says product labels aren’t racist

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More than 5,000 people have signed a petition calling on the grocery chain to change what it calls its racist brands, using phrases like “Trader José” “Trader Ming’s” and “San Joe” on some of its products. international food.

But Trader Joe’s defends the practice.

“We want to be clear: we don’t agree that any of these labels are racist. We don’t make decisions based on petitions, ”the grocery store said in a July 24 statement.

“Decades ago our purchasing team started using product names, like Trader Giotto’s, Trader José’s, Trader Ming’s, etc. .

This is a far cry from the one made last week by Kenya Friend-Daniel, spokesperson for Trader Joe’s, when the petition started to gain traction.

At this point, Friend-Daniel hinted that the names were already being changed, a process that would continue.

“While this approach to product naming may have been rooted in a slight attempt at inclusion, we recognize that it can now have the opposite effect – an effect contrary to the welcoming and rewarding customer experience that we strive for. to create every day, ”she said in a statement to CNN.

“The packaging of a number of products has already been changed, but there are a small number of products where the packaging is still in the process,” added Friend-Daniel.

This does not appear to be the case at present. And this decision was particularly welcomed by right-wing experts.

“Pitch Trader Joes’ perfect response to one of the dumbest non-controversies in the Twitter crowd. Glad they won’t bend the knee to the crowd for…. gucamole, ”Meghan McCain wrote on Twitter Thursday.

Fox News commentator Stuart Varney called Trader Joe’s decision “to win for the sake”.

The problem, according to the petition and those on its side, is that this type of packaging exoticizes other cultures – portraying “Joe” as the norm and Ming, San Joe, José, etc., as falling outside of it. this domain.

In its most recent statement, Trader Joe’s claims that customer feedback revealed that its customers are not bothered by this “fun” approach to product marketing.

“Recently, we’ve heard from many customers reaffirm that these name variations are widely viewed exactly as intended – as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing,” the statement read. “We continue with our ongoing evaluation, and products that resonate with our customers and sell well will stay on our shelves. “

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