Mars Food is changing the name of its 70 years old brand Uncle Ben’s rice products to Ben’s Original.
Mars Inc. unveiled the change Wednesday for the 70-year-old brand, the latest company to drop a logo criticized as a racial stereotype.
“We listened to our associates and our customers and the time is right to make meaningful changes across society,” said Fiona Dawson, global president for Mars Food, multisales and global customers. “When you are making these changes, you are not going to please everyone. But it’s about doing the right thing, not the easy thing.”
The revamped Ben’s products, which feature the same blue font and orange packaging, will hit shelves in 2021.
Uncle Ben’s rice was first marketed in 1943 and was the top-selling rice in the United States from 1950 until the 1990s
Mars’ rice brand was named in the 1940s for “Uncle Ben,” apossiblyfictitiousBlack rice farmer from Texas supposedlyrenowned for his high-quality crop. It featured the face of Frank Brown, head waiter at an exclusive Chicago restaurant who posed for the Uncle Ben’s portrait, according to an archived page from Uncle Ben’s website.
Mars said it has set a goal of increasing the ranks of racial minorities in U.S. management positions by 40%. The company did not give a timeframe for reaching that number.
Quaker Oats announced in June that it would drop Aunt Jemima. Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has unveiled the name of its rebranded face cream product Fair & Lovely as Glow & Lovely.