Land O’Lakes Butter Drops Native American Woman From Packaging

The brand is getting a much-needed makeover ahead of its 100th anniversary

Land O'Lakes new butter packaging
That's better.
Land O'Lakes

After 92 years, the Native American woman on the packaging of Land O’Lakes products has finally been released from her tenure as an advertising icon. The company announced it would be removing the controversial illustration that has appeared on its packaging since 1928 in a press release back in February, and now the new packaging has started rolling out in keeping with the company’s slated spring/summer timeline.

The new design replaces the old illustration with the phrase “Farmer-Owned” above the Land O’Lakes logo, both displayed prominently over an illustration of, well, land and lakes. Some products will also include photos of real Land O’Lakes farmers and co-op members in what the brand called a “decision to showcase its greatest strength—its farmers.”

The old Land O’Lakes packaging has received criticism accusing the company of racism and sexism, including from North Dakota state Rep. Ruth Buffalo, who told the Grand Forks Herald that the image of the Native American woman goes “hand-in-hand with human and sex trafficking of our women and girls … by depicting Native women as sex objects.”

Despite the public criticism, Land O’Lakes did not cite any such controversy as a factor in the decision to drop the Native American imagery, instead attributing the move to a desire to highlight the brand’s farmer-owned status ahead of its 100th anniversary next year.

“As Land O’Lakes looks toward our 100th anniversary, we’ve recognized we need packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of our company culture—and nothing does that better than our farmer-owners whose milk is used to produce Land O’Lakes’ dairy products,” said Land O’Lakes President and CEO Beth Ford in the press release.

Either way, ditching the Native American imagery for almost anything else is a good look for the brand, with Buffalo calling the decision “a good gesture and a step forward.”

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