Eskimo Pie Owners Will Change Brand Name and Marketing
By Cooking Panda
Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Inc., owners of Eskimo Pie ice cream bars, announced in a statement their plans to rebrand Eskimo Pie. They’re the latest food brand to acknowledge its culturally insensitive and appropriating brand marketing. (Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben had their reckonings last week.)
“We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is derogatory,” said Elizabell Marquez, Head of Marketing at Dreyer’s Grand, said in the statement. “This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.”
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Eskimo Pie Origins
Eskimo Pie bars consist of vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate. The nearly 100-year-old frozen dessert features a dark-haired child mascot wearing a park and fur-lined hood. In an old 1920s ad, the mascot had squinty eyes and a round face.
According to The New York Times, “The term Eskimo is commonly used in Alaska to refer to all Inuit and Yupik people but it is considered derogatory by many who associate it with racist, non-Native colonizers who settled in the Arctic and used the term.”
The Smithsonian magazine reported how Christian Kent Nelson invented the ice cream bar in a confectionery shop in 1920s Iowa. Originally called “I-Scream Bars,” the treat-on-a-stick didn’t get its name until Nelson partnered with Russell C. Stover (yup, that Russell Stover).
“The new name and the images that came with it were meant to evoke the chilly north and the indigenous people who lived there, but it traded heavily on a stereotype,” The Times reported. “Although there has been little public pushback to the Eskimo Pie in the way there has been to the Washington Redskins, at least one woman, who was of Inuk heritage, has said that the name is offensive.”
Dreyer’s Grand, a U.S. subsidiary of Froneri that’s jointly owned by Nestle and R&R Ice Cream, will retire the Eskimo character and disclose a new name by the end of the year.