TikToker reignites debate over whether Trader Joe’s brands like Trader Ming’s and Trader Joe San are ‘racist’ as grocery store doubles down on its defense of controversial names
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Trader Joe’s controversial decision to have ethnic names for some of its products has come under fire again after a TikToker released a video criticizing the grocer. 

A TikToker named Kyi released a video to show her realization that the frozen sack of Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken was branded as Trader Ming’s. 

While preparing the food, she turns to the camera, mouthing the words, ‘Wait a damn minute.’

In the video caption, she wrote: ‘POV: U just found out Trader Joe’s does THIS to cultural foods.’

The video, which has nearly three million views, is one of a series as Kyi continues to find different Trader Joe’s products with alternative labeling. 

A TikToker named Kyi released a video using a popular point-of-view method to show her realization that the frozen sack of Mandarin Orange Chicken was branded as Trader Ming’s 

The video, which has nearly three million views, is one of a series as Kyi continues to find different Trader Joe’s products with alternative labeling 

With the help of viewers, she later discovered that the famous Californian grocery chain had other lines, including Trader Giotto’s, Trader Joe San, Joe’s Diner and Trader Jacques. 

The store has a line of Italian food titled ‘Trader Giotto’s’ and an American line named ‘Joe’s Diner.’ 

There is ‘Trader Joe San’ for Japanese food, ‘Baker Josef’ and ‘Trader Jacques’ for traditional French food. 

Viewers have expressed their opinions, many of them lighthearted and supportive, which is a stark contrast to the backlash the retailer faced in 2020 for the names of its Mexican and Middle Eastern food lines

Food products that were regarded as Italian used the branding ‘Trader Giotto’s’

Baker Josef for traditional French food

Baker Josef for traditional French food

‘Big missed opportunity to call it Trader Zhou’s,’ one joked while another said: ‘As a Mexican, I rather enjoy Trader Jose’.

‘I noticed this too. I have olive oil from Trader Joe’s & it’s called Trader Giottos,’ one quipped. 

One viewer said: ‘I thought they were all traders that know each other and sell each other their own foods.’ 

Another theorized: ‘I read somewhere they use a cultural equivalent of the name Joe but idk why’.

But this came as a shock to many as in 2020; the chain store said it would remove ethnic brand names like ‘Trader Ming’s, ‘Arabian Joe’s’ for Middle Eastern dishes and ‘Trader Jose’s’ from its shelves after an online petition blasted the products as racist.

‘While this approach to product naming may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day,’ spokeswoman Kenya Friends-Daniel told The New York Post. 

Trader Joe's American line is named 'Joe's Diner'

Trader Joe’s American line is named ‘Joe’s Diner’

Trader José has been used on products that are imported from Mexico

Trader José has been used on products that are imported from Mexico 

Trader Joe San was used on Japanese products

Trader Joe San was used on Japanese products

The California-based grocer had at least six brands that used popular or common names from other countries to sell products.

The petition was launched in early July 2020 and had amassed over 2,300 of the 2,500 desired signatures. 

The petition slammed the practice and demanded the company ‘remove racist branding and packaging from its stores’.

‘The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of ‘Joe’ that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes,’ it stated.

‘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,’ the petition continued.

‘The common thread between all of these transgressions is the perpetuation of exoticism, the goal of which is not to appreciate other cultures, but to further other and distance them from the perceived ‘normal’.’ 

In 2020, the chain store said it would remove ethnic brand names like 'Trader Ming's, 'Arabian Joe's' for Middle Eastern dishes and 'Trader Jose's' form its shelves after an online petition blasted the products as racist

In 2020, the chain store said it would remove ethnic brand names like ‘Trader Ming’s, ‘Arabian Joe’s’ for Middle Eastern dishes and ‘Trader Jose’s’ form its shelves after an online petition blasted the products as racist 

But later that month, the company said it will stick with labels like Trader Jose and Trader Ming's for Mexican and Asian food

But later that month, the company said it will stick with labels like Trader Jose and Trader Ming’s for Mexican and Asian food

But later that month, the company said it will stick with labels like Trader Jose’s and Trader Ming’s for Mexican and Asian food respectively.

‘We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist,’ they said in a statement. ‘We do not make decisions based on petitions.’

The grocery chain said it still believes the names, many created decades ago, represent lighthearted efforts at inclusion, adding that its customers say they still like them.

‘We thought then – and still do – that this naming of products could be fun and show appreciation for other cultures.

‘Moving forward, we will continue to evaluate those products with name variations that remain in our store.

‘If we find certain product names and-or products are not resonating with customers, we won´t hesitate to make changes.’

Trader Joe’s did not immediately respond to the DailyMail.com’s request for comment. 



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