Trader Joe’s is eliminating the brand extensions of its iconic Private Brand that use names such as Trader José’s, Arabian Joe’s, and Trader Ming’s that critics say are racist and “perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”
“We made the decision several years ago to use only the Trader Joe’s name on our products moving forward,” spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel said in an email. She added that the retailer “had hoped that the work would be complete by now but there are still a small number of products going through the packaging change and we expect to be done very soon.”
The brand naming strategy came under new scrutiny after a Change.org petition demanded that the company “remove racist branding and packaging from its stores.
The petition, which gathered more than 2,800 signatures, said the branding “belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”
The petition adds: “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 — they are ‘Arabian Joe,’ ‘Trader José,’ and ‘Trader Joe San.”
We can confirm that over the last few years this strategy has changed and the “Trader Mings” of the world have been replaced with Trader Joe’s brand product. I shop our local Trader Joe’s and have not seen the naming in a long time.