PepsiCo Inc. made some headlines on June 17 when it announced it was cutting Aunt Jemima from its catalog of brands. The company, part of the PepsiCo subsidiary Quaker Oats, will still make syrup and pancake mix, but it is taking "a hard look at our portfolio of brands" as it works "to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives."
It likely won't be the last branding makeover.
Mars Inc., the owner of the rice brand Uncle Ben's also said it was "evolving the Uncle Ben's brand, including its visual brand identity." Before the end of the day Wednesday, Conagra Brand Inc. said it has a "complete brand and packaging review" on its Mrs. Butterworth's brand. That includes its syrup bottle made to resemble what Conagra calls a "loving grandmother figure."
"We stand in solidarity with our Black and Brown communities and we can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values," Conagra said in a news release.
With those changes on the horizon, expect the implications to flow down the supply chain. Obviously packaging firms need to be able to shift right along with their customers. That may not be difficult if it's just a different label on a bottle, but how much Mrs. Butterworth's blow mold tooling is in production right now? How many pouches for Uncle Ben's microwavable rice are already in a warehouse?
Perhaps one silver lining out of the coronavirus-related shutdowns this year — along with all those face shields and masks molders began producing at a moment's notice — may be that processors already know they can make rapid changes needed to keep up with unexpected disruptions.