Gedney Foods to rename "midget" pickles in response to mother's anti-"M word" campaign
Chelley's one-mom campaign compelled Gedney Foods to take action.
In December, Chelley Martinka, a 28-year-old Rhode Island mother of a baby girl named Adelaide who has dwarfism, was "shocked, appalled, and hurt" when she went grocery shopping and saw Cains "Kosher Dill Midgets" pickles on the shelf.
In a letter to Chaska-based Gedney Foods, the company that manufactures the pickles, Martinka wrote: "I know that as times change it is hard for a company to keep up. But for the equality of all children I hope you consider renaming this product for 2013."
Martinka kept the pressure on with a YouTube video and on her blog. And much to her surprise, earlier this month, Barry Spector, president of Gedney, called Martinka and delivered news she was very excited to hear. From her blog:
Mr. Spector began telling me that the person or people who named the pickles never meant harm, it was just a word when the marketing was done for the pickles. He agreed that in these times that same word is offensive, and he and the company would never want to offend anyone. Because of this, he sent my video to the company's board who voted to... CHANGE THE LABEL! There's about 6 months of stock already packaged and labeled, but the unused labels are going to remain as such: unsued. New labels are be designed now- currently waiting on a new name. Mr. Spector pointed out some companies use "baby", but he didn't seem sold on it. I think "lil' bits" would be fun, but I didn't say that! He did promise to send me the new label in goodwill! I am SO excited to see it! I plan on buying one jar now to a) get them off the shelves faster and b) have a comparison for the future.
I want to brag: I am proud of myself.
Mr. Spector noted that he realizes consumers have more power over companies (I'm assuming he meant due to social media outlets, etc.), and that he, like every company, needed to listen and respond. I was shocked he had said that. Many companies don't listen to their consumers, especially if it's not something that personally touches them. Many times, a company simply doesn't want to change- they think there is too much cost and hassle, but not this one. This company assures me that change is good and keeping with with the times is important to them.
Gedney owns their own brand, as well as Cains' and Del Monte. I do hope that all of these brands will be renamed, but we did not (regretfully) discuss that. As a final closing, Mr. Spector said (AND I QUOTE VERBATIM) "I promise, what I've told you is what we're gonna do."
M-word pickles, BE GONE!
In a statement, Gedney representatives said the company simply views the name change as "doing the right thing."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.