Dairy Farmers states that the name has nothing to do with the more commonly known racist (originally American) use of the word. They assert that it is instead named after its American creator Edward Coon who patented a method, subsequently known as the Cooning process, for fast maturation of cheese via high temperature and humidity. Former manufacturer Kraft, and later Dairy Farmers, have vigorously defended the trademark.
The accuracy of Dairy Farmers' account of the origin of the brand has been challenged. Anti-racism campaigner Stephen Hagan has said that he has been unable to find evidence that Edward Coon was a famous cheese maker, contending that the name came instead from the black wraparound it was originally sold in.
From 1933 the cheese was marketed as Red Coon, as at the time the cheese was coated with red wax. The wax was later replaced with cellophane and the red stripe in the logo is a residual reference to the original packaging.