Uncle Ben's has a new name and look.
The rice brand, which came under scrutiny in June for using racially insensitive stereotypes, has officially rebranded to Ben's Original. Along with dropping "uncle" from the name, the portrait of a Black man has also been removed from the packaging.
“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, in a press release. “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 brand says they are doing more than just changing the logo, though. "We are not just changing our name and the image on the package, but also taking action to enhance inclusion and equity—and that comes with a new brand purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table," the announcement on the website states.
These efforts include ensuring "underserved communities have access to the nutritious meals," and helping "culinary entrepreneurs of all colors get educational opportunities" through a new partnership with the National Urban League. The collaboration will start its efforts by funding aspiring Black chefs through scholarships in the U.S. before expanding their efforts on a global scale.
“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.”
Production on the new packaging has already begun and will be in stores starting in early 2021.