Mars Food has announced that it will be changing the name of its longtime brand, Uncle Ben's, to Ben's Original. In a statement issued Wednesday, the brand says the move is part of "the brand’s ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining its commitment to producing the world’s best rice."
“Over the last several weeks, we have listened to thousands of consumers, our own Associates and other stakeholders from around the world,” Fiona Dawson of Mars Food said.
The name change comes after a summer-long nationwide discussion about race, discrimination, police brutality and much more. For many, the previous name triggered memories of a time when words like "Uncle" and "Aunt" were used to describe older Black men and women working for slave owners in the United States. Similar to Mars Food, Quaker Oats and PepsiCo announced that they would change the name of Aunt Jemima syrup.
“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," Dawson added.
Going forward, Mars Food is also planning to change its logo. The current logo features Frank Brown, a waiter at a Chicago restaurant who posed for the rice brand in the 1940's.
Mars Food is also making a commitment to create change beyond its logo and name. The company is striving "to enhance inclusion and equity and setting out its new brand purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table.” Specifically, the company has formed a partnership with the National Urban League to provide meals to underprivileged communities and they are working to create a scholarship fund for Black chefs.
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