A Canadian athletic apparel store ended a partnership with a ‘holistic nutrition’ company that was accused of cultural appropriation for a bone broth bar and an ethnic food pop-up.
Bone broth is a simple broth made from animal bones, that originated in ancient Chinese medicine as is now a staple of traditional Asian meals.
Toronto Star editor Evy Kwong took notice of the Instagram marketing, and tweeted that the company was “white owned” and across the street from a family-owned Vietnamese restaurant “Golden Turtle Pho”.
Kwong wrote that Pipe Nutrition’s Instagram page was, "Sexualizing 'jerk' sauce and pho hot sauce and making 'superfood dumplings' for profit? y'all im sick."
She continued: "The cultures they are taking from literally fight daily for legitimacy. The *wellness* cleansing of the food, the lack historical understanding, and the number of followers is alarming. I’m not tryna knock small businesses but damn, this one hurts [sic]."
In the Twitter thread, she also mentioned that in her past she was forced to “throw out my chinese food lunches cos white kids would make fun of it all day.”
Laura Santino, a co-founder of Permission – the athletic apparel store, issued an apology and announced the partnership would end.
"We acknowledge the hurt this has caused and apologize sincerely. Our pop-up was not in line with community values or our company ethos, and we have decided to part ways, effective immediately," Santino told BlogTO.
Ripe Nutrition also issued a statement on the brand's page.
"It is not the responsibility of people of colour to educate me, a white woman, on why cultural appropriation isn't acceptable," wrote Alexandra Baird, the founder who is white. She also added that Ripe Nutrition's staff would take cultural sensitivity training.
Last week, however, the company announced a new partnership with Golden Turtle Pho – the Vietnamese restaurant across the street.
The caption said: "It's all love. Collaboration over competition always."