Very popular in Germany, this spicy paprika-based sauce will change its name. A decision hailed by the German Roma community.
The food company Knorr will rename its “gypsy sauce”, marketed in Germany, because of its character considered discriminatory towards the population of Roma and Sinti. This popular spicy sauce will be sold in the country under the denomination of “Hungarian paprika sauce”, indicates its parent company, Unilever, Monday August 17. “We are working intensively to free advertising from all discrimination and stereotypes”, writes the company. “As the concept of ‘Gypsy sauce’ can be interpreted negatively, we decided to give our Knorr sauce another name”, she adds.
The name change follows recent international debates on racism, particularly in the United States, following the May murder of an African American, George Floyd, by police. Other large companies have also rebranded traditional brands in response to concerns about racial stereotypes.
The American group PepsiCo had announced the imminent disappearance of one of its most popular brands of syrup, “Aunt Jemima”, embodied for 131 years by the face of a black woman. The Mars company, for its part, wants to abandon the image of an elderly African-American man, displayed as a medallion on packages of Uncle Benz brand rice since the 1940s.
Unilever’s decision (to which Knorr belongs) has been welcomed by the German Central Council of Roma and Sinti. “It’s good that Knorr reacted to the protests of many people”, estimated its president Romani Rose in the columns of Bild. He expressed his concern at the rise of anti-Roma sentiment in Germany and Europe, noting in particular that the names “Gypsy” but also “Jewish” were used as insults by supporters in football stadiums. Europe has some 11 million Roma who constitute its largest ethnic minority. But they continue to suffer from disproportionate poverty and discrimination.