Uncle Ben's, the country's top-selling rice product between 1950 and 1990 owned by Mars Incorportated, has changed its brand name.
Parent company Mars Food made the anouncement on Wednesday, Sept. 23 after announcing in June it would be rebranding amid criticism for racial stereotyping.
The newly branded rice product will be known as "Ben's Original," and has removed the iconic elderly African American man wearing a bow tie from packaging.
For a look at the new logo, see the second image above.
“Over the last several weeks, we have listened to thousands of consumers, our own Associates and other stakeholders from around the world,” said Fiona Dawson, Global President Mars Food, Multisales and Global Customers. “We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand, and as we announced in June, we have committed to change.”
The now-retiring image on the company's packaging is said to be in the likeness of a Chicago maître d'hôtel named Frank Brown, who would-be company president Gordon L. Harwell met in the 1940s.
The company also plans to donate money to the National Urban League to support aspiring Black chefs and said that they will economically support 7,500 individuals in Greenville, Mississippi, where the company is headquartered, in furthering their educations and facilitate the distribution of fresh foods there.
“Brands have an important role to play as we continue to navigate this moment of reconciliation regarding racial justice, diversity and inclusion,” said Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League. “We’re proud to partner with Ben’s Original™ as they evolve and embark on a new path with a new purpose, providing Black communities here and abroad with more equitable opportunities in education and business.”
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