Nestlé Australia has announced it will change the name of its Red Skins and Chicos lollies to remove “overtones which are out of step with Nestlé’s values”.
The lollies, which are sold under the Allen’s brand in Australia and New Zealand only, have names that conjure outdated, racist stereotypes. “Chico” is used in the US as a slur against people of Latin-American descent, while “redskin” is a derogatory, racist term used to describe First Nations people in North America. The Red Skins packaging depicted a Native American in a feathered headdress until the ’90s.
“This decision acknowledges the need to ensure that nothing we do marginalises our friends, neighbours and colleagues,” the company said in the statement.
The new names for the products have not yet been finalised, but Nestlé says it will move quickly to change them.
The announcement comes in the midst of a global civil-rights movement calling for an end to racism, discrimination and violence directed towards BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) people, which has led to rallies and protests around the world. Protestors have toppled statues of slave traders and colonisers, and activists and consumers have been urging companies with offensive names or products to change their branding.
Last week, Melbourne bottle-shop chain Blackhearts & Sparrows (which also has stores in Canberra and Tasmania) removed Colonial Brewing Co beers from its shelves following a backlash.
Blackhearts & Sparrows said in a statement: “‘Colonial’ is still a problematic word that speaks to a broader history of colonialism and colonisation, which has caused irreversible harm to the First Nations people in Australia and Indigenous populations around the world.”