Mars Food is rebranding Uncle Ben’s to Ben’s Original as it works towards creating a “more inclusive future” for its iconic rice brand.
The move comes after a series of major rebrands from food companies turning away from mascots, logos and branding that use racial stereotype sand other problematic imagery.
“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 company is also removing the image on the packaging to create more equitable iconography.
As well as rebranding, Mars said that it is also “taking action to enhance inclusion and equity and setting out its new brand purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table”. This means Ben’s Original branded community outreach programmes.
This work will begin in the US where the brand has forged a partnership with National Urban League to support aspiring black chefs through a scholarship fund, before expanding to support other underserved communities around the world.
“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 of the 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.”
In addition, in Greenville, Mississippi – where the Ben’s Original has been produced in the U.S. for more than 40 years – Mars Food will invest in the local community to address issues that have plagued this region of the US for generations.
Ben’s Original packaging will begin reaching store shelves in 2021.