"We've recognized we need packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of our company culture," Land O'Lakes said in their announcement

By Robyn Merrett
April 16, 2020 09:58 PM
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Land O’Lakes butter’s packaging will no longer feature the American Indian “Butter Maiden” on its packaging.

The new-look packaging arrived in stores this month after the company announced the change earlier this year.

The change, which comes ahead of the brand’s 101 anniversary, was announced in February with Land O’Lakes explaining, “We’ve recognized we need packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of our company culture.”

“The new packaging will show up in a variety of ways, including through a new front-of-package design that features the phrase ‘Farmer-Owned’ above LAND O LAKES brandmark, ‘Since 1921,” the company said in its release.

“Some products, including stick butter, will also include photos of real Land O’Lakes farmers and co-op members and copy that reads ‘Since 1921’ and ‘Proud to be Farmer-Owned: As a farmer-owned co-op, we stand together to bring you the very best in dairy.”

Land O’Lakes did not explicitly state their reason for removing the American Indian woman named, Mia, who has long been seen on the packing holding the butter box. The illustration was painted in 1928 by Brown & Bigelow illustrator Arthur C. Hanson. The image was later updated to only show her face.

Instead, the dairy brand’s President and CEO Beth Ford explained they felt showing “our farmer-owners whose milk is used to produce Land O’Lakes’ dairy products” better reflects what they stand for.

“As a farmer-owned co-op, we strongly feel the need to better connect the men and women who grow our food with those who consume it. Our farmer-to-fork structure gives us a unique ability to bridge this divide,” Ford said.

While the new design, which shows a scene of water in between a valley of trees, has already appeared on tub butter spreads, Land O’Lakes announced the updated look will soon be seen on products like deli cheese and stick butter beginning in spring/summer 2020.

The original design has long been criticized for being racist.

North Dakota Rep. Ruth Buffalo told the Grand Forks Herald the image of Mia goes “hand-in-hand with human and sex trafficking of our women and girls.”

In response to the new look, Buffalo, a registered member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, said, “It’s a good thing for the company to remove the image.”

However, she feels the work doesn’t stop there.

Buffalo explained to the Grand Forks Herald that the nation needs to “keep pushing forward to address the underlying issues that directly impact an entire population that survived genocide.”

Land O’Lakes was founded in 1921 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb of Arden Hills, Minnesota.

Since the new packaging was revealed, consumers have applauded the new look on Twitter.

Actor George Takei welcomed the move on Twitter, writing: “A wise decision, indeed. What do you think of this, friends?”

“Bravo Land O’Lakes Minnesota brands should not be using racist Indian imagery anymore,” one social media user wrote.

“About time!” another tweet read, including a link to the news.

“Today’s meme is in honor of some much needed good news: She’s gone, Land O’Lakes finally did the right thing & got rid of their racist logo,” a different social media user tweeted.