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Some brands are starting to change their names and logos as they face increasing pressure to diversify and fight racism.

USA TODAY

While Trader Joe’s says he plans to change some of the names and packaging of several of his ethnic food brands, the grocery store said he did not believe the names were racist.

The company claims that for several decades it has labeled some of its ethnic foods with variations “Joe”, including Trader Ming’s, which is used to label Chinese food in the chain, Trader José’s for Mexican food, “Arabian Joe” for food in the Middle East, “Trader Giotto “for Italian dishes and” Trader Joe San “for Japanese cuisine.

Trader Joe rejected reports that a small petition by Change.org calling on the company to “remove racist packaging” had led officials to take action.

“We want to be clear: we do not agree that some of these brands are racist,” the company said Tuesday with the United States today. “We do not make decisions based on petitions. … If we feel the need for change, we do not hesitate to act. “

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The company informed USA TODAY on July 18 that it “decided a few years ago to use only the name of Joe’s dealer on our moving products”, but did not have an exact date when the change would take place.

“We have recently heard from many customers that these variations of names are largely viewed exactly as intended – as an attempt to entertain our product marketing,” Trader Joe’s said in a statement on Friday. “We are continuing our ongoing evaluation and products that resonate with our customers and sell well will remain on our shelves.”

Briones Bedell, a California high school senior, began the Trader Joe petition about three weeks after other brands, including Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, Ms. Butterworth, and creamy wheat, announced on June 17 that they would restore racial equality after the resumption. Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream said on June 19 that its Eskimo Pie brand would be renamed.

The petition had more than 4,800 signatures on Tuesday night.

Trader Joe officials said officials are constantly evaluating what they are doing to “ensure a sense of our business and are in line with customer expectations” and asked the purchasing team a few years ago “to check all our products to see if we need to update. older and also to see if it is necessary to update related brands developed years ago. ”

Some names and products that “did not connect or sell very well have therefore been discontinued”.

Follow US TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

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