Brunberg kisses goodbye to African stereotype packaging

The Provoo-based company has been making the Kisses product - under one name or another - since the early 1950s.

File picture showing new Brunberg Kisses packaging for 2020 / Credit: Brunberg

Porvoo confectionery manufacturer Brunberg is changing the packaging on its chocolate Kisses product, to remove a cartoon drawing of an African couple that’s been called offensive, stereotypical and racist.

The couple are scantily-clad with enlarged bright red lips, an image which evokes colonial tropes of how Africans were once widely regarded in Europe.

By summer, the chocolate-covered marshmallow treats will instead be sold in the same style of box but with a drawing that depicts Porvoo Old Town in the 1950s.

“The box has something new, something old and reflects the brand’s identity: respect for traditions, Porvoo as the company’s hometown and good taste memories” says Brunberg CEO Katarina Enholm in a statement.

File picture showing old packaging for Brunberg Kisses product / Credit: Brunberg

The Kisses product has been on the market since 1951 and for decades was known as ‘Negro’s Kisses’. This was changed in 2001 to simply ‘Brunberg’s Kisses’ but the depiction of the African couple on the box has lingered until now.

Brunberg says it’s in the process of refreshing all of its packaging, one product at a time, ahead of the company’s 150th anniversary next year.

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