As protests to end racial injustice continue to sweep the nation, many consumers have begun to put pressure on brands to speak out against racism and end their decades long racist rhetoric. The Quaker Oats Aunt Jemima breakfast brand recently came under fire for their blatantly racist brand image of Aunt Jemima, which is tied to an image of an actual enslaved woman.
Although the Aunt Jemima brand has since announced that they will begin to revamp the company’s image, consumers have begun taking their business elsewhere, mainly focusing on Black-owned businesses instead of major corporations. Among those Black-owned brands growing in popularity over the boycott is Michele’s Foods, a syrup company located in Chicago, who’s seen an influx of sales since the Aunt Jemima fall out began.
Owner of Michele’s Foods, Michele Hoskins, is proud to say that her brand specializes in breakfast condiments and food. Her signature syrup is from a family recipe that was passed down through many generations– starting with her great-grandmother. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Hoskins opened up about her family syrup recipe and her great-grandmother, explaining, “she was a slave who worked as a cook on a plantation. The family she worked for did not like molasses. So she came up with this concoction of honey, churned butter, and cream. It was delicious.”
With a passion for breakfast food, Hoskins started her own company over 30 years ago and now sells her branded syrup and other breakfast items in over 8,000 stores around the country!
The outrage over Aunt Jemima proved to be a blessing in disguise for Hoskins, as she said she was excitedly overwhelmed with the sudden spike in orders from breakfast lovers wanting to switch to the Black-owned brand after eliminating Aunt Jemima from their grocery lists. “I was shocked,” Hoskins continued. “It just changed my company, it changed my life. It made the 35 years worth the perseverance. I was just going to sit here and to hope that I can grow this brand enough where the legacy means something.”
For more on Michele’s Syrup, visit her Instagram: @michelesyrup