Say cheese: Coon changes name at last

13th January 2021 | Alison Turner

Saputo Dairy Australia has finally bowed to mounting public pressure, today announcing that it has changed the name of its Coon Cheese products to something slightly more cheerful (and less racist). Of course, not everyone is happy about it.

Coon Cheese will now be known as Cheer Cheese, a change which the company says came after “careful and diligent review to honour the brand affinity felt by our consumers while aligning with current attitudes and perspectives”.

Same cheese, different name, now with added respect.

The racist overtones of the Coon brand name have been a hot topic of debate over the years, and came to a head once again following the Black Lives Matter protests. While Saputo claimed that the cheese was named after Coon Cheese founder Edward William Coon, Aboriginal activist Dr Stephen Hagan – who has been campaigning to have the cheese’s name changed for two decades and has even written a book about it – says the cheese was originally given the tasteless nickname “Coon” as it came wrapped in black.

Lino A. Saputo, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Saputo Inc. said in a released statement that, “Treating people with respect and without discrimination is one of our basic principles and it is imperative that we continue to uphold this in everything we do.

“Our decision to change the name… reinforces this commitment to build a culture of acceptance, inclusion and respect where everyone feels a sense of belonging.”

While some might think the new name an odd choice, cheese toasties certainly always bring the cheer.

Because haters are always gonna hate, of course there was the usual backlash on various social media channels after the name change was announced, with one cheesed off person calling it “absolute bulls**t”, while others described the move as “cancel culture at its best” and “PC gone nuts”. Obviously these people feel very strongly about cheese.

Other companies that recently changed the controversial names of their products include Allen’s lollies, which rebranded its Red Skin and Chico lollies to Red Ripper and Cheekies last year, and civilisation didn’t descend into chaos.   

The cheese will remain exactly the same, with only the name to change. Cheer Cheese will appear on supermarket shelves nationwide from July 2021.

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