WSJ reports the owner of Eskimo Pie treats said it would change the name of the nearly century-old ice cream brand because the term is derogatory, following similar moves this week by the makers of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s.
“We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is derogatory,” Elizabell Marquez, head of marketing for Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, said in a statement.
Dreyer’s is the U.S. subsidiary of Froneri, a joint venture between Nestlé SA NSRGY 0.04% and private equity company PAI Partners.
The term Eskimo is a disparaging term for the indigenous people of the Arctic regions of northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Siberia.
The Eskimo Pie, invented in 1920, was America’s first chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar, according to the Smithsonian Institution. Its inventor, Christian K. Nelson, formed a partnership with chocolatier Russell C. Stover, who came up with the name.
The brand’s name and images—including a person wearing a fur-trimmed parka—were intended to evoke the chilly north and the indigenous people who lived there, according to the Smithsonian.
The founders in 1922 patented their invention and its moniker. They sold their stakes in the business in the years after the product rocketed to popularity.
In the 1950s, Mr. Nelson also patented an “Eskimo Machine” that squeezed out ice cream in the correct dimensions to be cut into bars—a faster process than the previous method of using molds.
The ice cream business was acquired by United States Foil Company, which made its wrapper and later became Reynolds Metals. In 1992, it was spun off in a public offering and was acquired by Dreyer’s in 2007.