Trader Joe’s seems to have canceled plans to abandon his ethnic food brand a few days after promising to throw it out amid racism allegations.
The discount grocery store says it may now hold some controversial names that have been slapping foreign food for decades if they sell well enough and customers continue to appreciate it.
“We have recently heard from many customers who assert that this variation of name is largely seen exactly as intended – in an effort to have fun with our product marketing,” Trader Joe said in a statement posted on his website last week. “We continue our ongoing evaluation, and products that resonate with our customers and sell well will remain on our shelves.”
The statement appears to be a reversal from earlier this month when the chain said that work to delete names after deciding a few years ago to only use its eponymous brand. Trader Joe even acknowledged that the names might have an effect “contrary to the friendly and satisfying customer experience that we strive to create every day.”
The company revealed plans to eliminate names such as “Trader José” for Mexican food and “Ming Trader” for Chinese dishes after launch the petition consider them “racist” and ask them to be rubbed.
But in his final statement, Trader Joe said “disagree[d] that one of these labels is racist “and that it only stops some of them because they” just don’t connect or sell very well. “
He also called reports that the petition encouraging the review was “inaccurate.”
Among the brands that Trader Joe has bought so far include the Arab brands Joe and Armenian Joe, Kenya’s spokesman Friends Daniel told The Post in an e-mail on Friday. The company expects evaluations of the remaining products to be carried out “soon,” he said.
Briones Bedell, a high school student behind the petition, said that the company’s face created confusion about how or whether they would change their ethnic food packaging.
“Given the contradictory nature of this statement, we ask Trader Joe to clarify which ethnic branded products will be modified,” Bedell wrote on Wednesday additional to the petition, which had more than 5,100 signatures as early as Friday afternoon.
“Over the years, customer feedback on several products consisted of a number of things, including some product names considered insensitive or causing confusion,” said Friend-Daniel’s email.
“As for the remaining products with Trader Joe’s brand name variations, we continue to evaluate them and if they resonate with customers, they will remain on store shelves,” he added. “If not, changes will be made.”