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Trader Joes Says No to Changing Ethnic-Sounding Label Names

LOS ANGELES—Trader Joes, which indicated earlier this month it might change the names of some of its products after an online petition denounced them as racist, now says it will stick with labels like Trader Joses and Trader Mings for Mexican and Asian food.

“We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist,” the popular grocery chain said in a statement posted on its website. It added, “We do not make decisions based on petitions.”

The petition posted on change.org by a high school student claims the names create “a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”

Other Trader Joes names cited include Arabian Joe for Middle Eastern food, Trader Giottos for Italian and Trader Joe San for Japanese cuisine.

After the petition was launched Trader Joes issued a statement saying it has been in the process of updating product labels and hoped to conclude that effort soon.

“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,” company spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel said at the time.

She didnt respond to a message Friday asking what changed the companys mind.

But in its recent statement the grocery chain said it still believes the names, many created decades ago, represent lighthearted efforts at inclusion, adding that its customers say they still like them.

Initial word that it would change the names, Trader Joes said, was based on “inaccurate reports.”

“We thought then—and still do—that this naming Read More – Source

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