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17th Aug 2020

Knorr to change name of ‘racist’ cooking sauce

Wil Jones

German food manufacturer Knorr is to change the name of one of its most popular sauces because of the connotations the current name brings

As reported in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Knorr has confirmed that it will be renaming ‘Zigeunersauce’ or ‘gypsy sauce’ to ‘Paprika Sauce Hungarian Style’.

“Since ‘gypsy sauce’ can be interpreted in a negative way, we have decided to give our Knorr sauce a new name,” said Unilever, Knorr’s parent company.

Zigeunersauce is a popular condiment in Germany that is common in most household store cupboards in the country. The spicy sauce is mass-produced by several companies.

The move comes after several years of pressure to rename the sauce. In 2013 a group representing Romani and Sinti peoples called for companies to stop selling the sauce under the Zigeunersauc name. In the same year, an internal memo from authorities in Hanover told city staffers to stop using the term to describe a local Schnitzel delicacy, and instead refer to it as “Balkan style” or “Budapest style”.

The head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma supported Knorr’s decision to rename the sauce.

“It is good that Knorr reacts to the complaints of apparently a lot of people,” Romani Rose told Bild am Sonntag.

The move by Knorr is the latest in a series of product renamings, as companies reevaluate the origins of long-standing brands.

In June, Quaker Oats announced it would rename its 130-year-old Aunt Jemina brand, acknowledging that it was an outdated stereotype.

“As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” the company said in a statement to CNN.

The owners of Uncle Ben’s rice, Mars Inc, also released a statement, stating that they “recognize that now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do.”