‘Inappropriate’ Eskimo Pie Name Will Be Retired, Company Says

The name attached to Eskimo Pie, the chocolate-covered ice cream treat that has been around for nearly a century, will soon be retired in what is the latest product to yield to growing pressure to remove or rethink brands that have long been considered racist or culturally insensitive.

Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, which owns the dessert, said it would be changing the product’s brand name and marketing.

“We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is inappropriate,” Elizabell Marquez, head of marketing for Dreyer’s, said in a statement on Saturday. “This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.”

The company said it plans to have a new name by the end of the year and will discontinue the character of the Eskimo.

The packaging has long featured a small, dark-haired child wearing mittens and a heavy parka with a fur-lined hood. 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.

Credit…Eskimo Pie Corp.

In 2009, a young Inuit woman publicly denounced Pascall, a candy manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand, for appropriating her culture to sell its “Eskimo” marshmallows and other sweets. The woman, a Canadian tourist, described how shocked she was to find the candies while visiting New Zealand and described to reporters how as a child other children mocked her by calling her an Eskimo.

The company refused to change the name.

In Canada, an organization that represents the Inuit has called on the Edmonton Eskimos, a professional football team, to change its name.

The statement by Dreyer’s was the latest in a string of announcements by companies that they would remove, rename or review brands that have been criticized for using racist imagery to sell products.

The ice cream bricks were first called “I-Scream Bars.” It was not until Mr. Nelson became partners with Russell C. Stover, a Colorado chocolate maker, that the name was changed to Eskimo Pie.

The invention made Mr. Nelson “rich overnight,” according to a 1922 New York Times article about the dessert. By then, Mr. Nelson, then barely 29, was making $30,000 a week in royalties from sales of the product.

“Probably no innovation of recent years designed to meet the cravings of a sweet tooth has met with such instantaneous success in New York, Chicago and other cities,” The Times reported.

Source Article