What are the details?
The store — which has more than 500 stores across the U.S. — said that some of its branding was determined to be offensive.
The company says that it will no longer use terms like “Arabian Joe,” “Trader Jose’s,” “Trader Ming’s,” “Arabian Joe,” and more.
According to the Washington Post, the grocer “years ago” decided to adopt the traditional Trader Joe’s branding on all of its products in lieu of using “ethnic-sounding variations such as Trader Jose’s on Mexican food products and Trader Ming’s on Chinese fare.”
The petition — which has about 3,000 signatures so far — reportedly helped “fast-track” the process, the outlet reported.
The petition’s author, Briones Bedell, wrote, “The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of ‘Joe’ that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes. 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.”
A spokesperson for the company told CNN, “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 — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day. Packaging for a number of the products has already been changed, but there’s a small number of products in which the packaging is still going through the process.”
Bedell told the Post that it’s important that companies with large platforms such as that of Trader Joe’s responsibly use its voice.
“When anyone chooses to represent a culture, especially one that’s not their own, it is necessary to take measures to ensure that they are not furthering prejudice, discrimination, or misunderstanding, regardless of the intention,” she said.