Midget Gems: Bassetts agree to ‘Mini Gems’ rebrand following Liverpool academic’s campaign

The newly named packets of sweets will hit the shelves in May.

One of Britain’s best known sweet brands has agreed to change the name of Midget Gems to Mini Gems.

The rebranding follows concerns that the term ‘midget’ could cause offence.

Maynards Bassetts Mini Gems will be on shelves from May this year.

The change comes after an ongoing campaign by Dr Erin Pritchard, a lecturer in disability and education at Liverpool Hope University.

Dr Erin Pritchard has campaigned to change the name of the sweets Midget Gems. Image: Liverpool Hope University

She says the term ‘midget’ is a form of hate speech and also widely offensive to the vast majority of people with dwarfism.

Dr Pritchard told LiverpoolWorld: “It’s brilliant news. Companies are starting to become more enlightened.”

Retailer Marks & Spencer was the first supermarket to change the name to Mini Gems after they were contacted by Dr Pritchard, who has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.

What Maynards Bassetts said

A spokesperson for Maynards Bassetts, which is owned by Mondelez International, said: “Maynards Bassetts Midget Gems is a popular classic that has been loved by consumers for decades.

“We are grateful for all feedback that we receive from our consumers, including the view that the product name ‘Midget Gems’ can be offensive to people with dwarfism.

A bowl of Mini Gems.

“As one of the country’s most-loved confectionery brands we are proud to be acting on this feedback and making a change to the name of this pack to ensure that we can be more inclusive – and remove any potential for offence.

“Our rebranded ‘Maynards Bassetts Mini Gems’ will be hitting shelves from May 2022. The product inside will be unchanged and just as delicious as it is today.”

Reaction to Mini Gems name change

Dr Pritchard, who has been receiving abuse on social media since news of the name change, has explored the use of the term ‘midget’ in a chapter for the book Disability Hate Speech: Social, Cultural and Political Contexts.

In it she describes: “‘Midget’ remains a popular term used to describe people with dwarfism within the entertainment industry, especially within lowbrow entertainment, as with the examples of ‘midget wrestling’ and ‘midget tossing’.”

She told LiverpoolWorld: “I don’t understand any negative feedback - there’s no reason for anyone to be hurt by the word ‘mini’. As Maynards Bassetts said the product on the inside of the packet will be exactly the same.

“I shared what companies are doing on Facebook amongst people with dwarfism and they are all glad that this has been changed.

“They all have first hand experience of the word ‘midget’ being used towards them.”