Nestle, Allen's to change 'out of step' names of Red Skins, Chicos lollies amid racial tensions

Nestle will change the controversial names of two of its popular lolly products following a backlash, admitting they are "out of step" and have racial overtones.

Red Skins and Chicos - produced by Australian confectionery company Allen's - have long been criticised as racist and offensive. 'Red skin' is a derogatory label for Native Americans, while 'chico' is occasionally used as an offensive slur against Latin Americans.

The change comes amid heightened racial tensions and Black Lives Matter protests across the Western world, sparked by the death of unarmed African-American man George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in the US last month.

"This decision acknowledges the need to ensure that nothing we do marginalises our friends, neighbours and colleagues," Nestle said in a statement.

"These names have overtones which are out of step with Nestle's values, which are rooted in respect. While new names have not yet been finalised, we will move quickly to change these names."

Allen's also announced the change on its Facebook page, saying the decision reflected "the need to keep creating smiles".

"We appreciate the comments we have received on the need for change," it said.

Name changes have been called for all over the world in recent times.

Last week, Mars and Conagra said it would review the brand name and logos of Uncle Ben's rice and Mrs Butterworth syrup, in response to Black Lives Matter protests.

It came shortly after and logo after Quaker Oats, owned by Pepsi, scrapped its Aunt Jemima's branding amid heavy criticism that its based on a racist stereotype popularised in minstrel shows.

In New Zealand, meanwhile, Akaroa restaurant Bully Hayes vowed to change its name after its namesake was exposed as a paedophile who raped and enslaved Pacific Islanders, and debate has raged on over whether Hamilton should be renamed to Kirikiriroa.