Marks and Spencer renames Midget Gems sweets over concerns they 'cause offence and fuel prejudice'

M&S has changed the name of its own branded Midget Gems over fears it could cause offence.

The supermarket's hard jelly sweets are now called Mini Gems.

Concerns were raised by a disability campaigner that the name could cause offence to those with dwarfism.

Dr Erin Pritchard, a lecturer in disability and education at Liverpool Hope University, said the term is a form of hate speech and is derogatory to people with dwarfism.

Dr Pritchard has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, and said the name of the sweets contributes to prejudice.

She said: "The word midget is a form of hate speech and contributes to the prejudice that people with dwarfism experience on a daily basis.

"When people scream the name at you in the street, it is only right that it is removed."

A Marks and Spencer spokesperson confirmed to The Sun the sweets have been renamed.

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The retailer said: "Following suggestions from our colleagues and the insights shared by Dr Erin Pritchard, we introduced new mini gem packaging last year, which has since been rolled out to all of our stores.”

Dr Pritchard said she was thankful for the move by M&S and has also called on other companies to change the name of the sweets.

M&S is not the only company to change the name of the sweets, but is the first large retailer to do so.

Vegan friendly sweets made by Free From Fellows, which are stocked at high street retailers including Sainsbury's, Morrisons, WHSmith and Boots have also removed the word.

Dr Pritchard said: “Having spoken with various firms about the use of the word ‘midget’, it’s clear that many companies are simply unaware of just how offensive the term is, and I’ve had to explain to them why it’s such an issue." 

The hard gem sweets are not the only confectionary to undergo a name change.

Opal Fruits were famously rebranded as Starburst – though the retro name did make a brief comeback in 2020 for a limited time.

Coco Pops were once Choco Krispies, Daim bars used to be Dime bars and Snickers were formerly known as Marathon bars.

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