By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The bright orange boxed rice brand officially has a new name: Ben’s Original.
After several weeks of listening to consumers, employees and stakeholders, Mars Inc., the parent company of Ben’s Original, said in a press release that it understands “the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the Uncle Ben’s brand and as we announced in June, we have committed to change.”
“We will change our name to Ben’s Original as well as remove the image on our packaging to create more equitable iconography,” the release said. “This change signals our ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining our commitment to producing the world’s best rice.”
Although Mars shared the news on Twitter Wednesday, the social media profile pic of the bowtied Black man on the rice box cover is still unchanged.
We listened. And we learned. Moving forward, Uncle Ben's will be known as Ben’s Original™. Read our full statement to find out more about our brand's new purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table: https://t.co/0tSE0lnMa1 pic.twitter.com/741JQU1qTI
— Uncle Ben's USA (@UncleBens) September 23, 2020
Like so many other brands, including Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth’s and Land O’Lakes, the rice maker announced it was time to “evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity.”
In addition to the name and visual changes to the packaging, the brand said it is “taking action to enhance inclusion and equity” with a new purpose to “create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table.”
Ben’s Original has community outreach programs that will “ensure underserved communities have access to the nutritious meals we all deserve.”
We have a responsibility to help end racial injustices. We’re listening to consumers, especially in the Black community, and our Associates. We don’t yet know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we will evolve Uncle Ben’s visual brand identity. pic.twitter.com/n0e1pZ75OF
— Uncle Ben's USA (@UncleBens) June 17, 2020
“We will also help culinary entrepreneurs of all colors get educational opportunities so their ideas and voices can be appreciated by all. This work will begin in the U.S., where we will partner with National Urban League to support aspiring Black chefs through scholarships, and we will then expand our efforts to support other underserved communities around the world,” according to the press release.
The brand, based in Greenville, Mississippi, will also “focus on enhancing educational opportunities for more than 7,500 area students, as well as furthering access to fresh foods.”
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