New brand name for Coon Cheese revealed

Saputo Dairy responds to increased consumer demand for racial and cultural sensitivity from brand owners and rebrands iconic cheese

Six months after bowing to consumer backlash against the racial overtones of its iconic Australian cheese brand, Coon has announced ‘Cheer Cheese’ as the new name for its product from July this year.

In a statement, the brand’s parent company, Saputo Dairy Australia, said the name change followed a diligent review to honour consumer affinity with the brand while aligning to “current attitudes and perspectives”.

Despite the name ‘Coon’ being derived from original founder, Edward William Coon, who patented a cheese ripening process used to make the company’s original cheeses in 1935, consumer concerns and sentiments saw the company opt to retire the brand name after an 85-year run.

Credit: Saputo Dairy


“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,” Saputo global chair and CEO, Lino A Saputo, said. “Our decision to change the name of Australia’s much-loved cheese reinforces this commitment to build a culture of acceptance, inclusion and respect where everyone feels a sense of belonging.”

Saputo is one of several Australian and international brands choosing to retire brand names considered out of date with cultural sensitivities around race. These increasing concerns came firmly into the spotlight in 2020 as part of the #blacklivesmatter movement and the rising number of protests and riots internationally against racial prejudice.

In Coon's case, calls for it to rethink the iconic name came after Australian comedian, Josh Thomas, kicked off debate around its meaning and appropriateness given the global movement against racial prejudice.

Fellow Australian confectionary brand, Allen’s Lollies, has also responded to the need for more culturally appropriate branding and rebranded its Chico’s and Red Skins lollies to Cheekies and Red Ripper. The fresh branding was due to begin appearing on shelves from early 2021.

Saputo Dairy Australia commercial director, Cam Bruce, reiterated the brand ‘Cheer Cheese’ is designed to be a cheese for everyone.

“We trust our valued consumers and those who are new to our products will embrace this new name,” he said. “We want to stay true to the brand values. Cheer Cheese enriches everyday moments, with our signature taste that brightens your morning, noon or night.

“Cheer Cheese is the same recipe that millions have come to love, and will continue to grow up with, for generations to come. We remain committed to our Australian farmers who continue to produce the high-quality milk that goes into all of our products, including Cheer Cheese.” 

 The new Cheer Cheese branding will appear on supermarket shelves nationwide from July 2021. Saputo's other consumer brands include Cracker Barrel, Devondale, King Island Dairy, Mersey Valley and Mil Lel.

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