Home News Reaction Mixed as “Uncle Ben’s” Rice Announces New Name

Reaction Mixed as “Uncle Ben’s” Rice Announces New Name

by Paul Goldberg

Mars Inc. has announced “Uncle Ben’s” rice will now be known as “Ben’s Original.”

Responses ranged from those applauding the move to those mocking it.

Chris Bush responded sarcastically “Congrats you’ve singlehandedly ended racism and police brutality.”

Damien Thorn asked “sorry I’m confused though what part of ‘uncle’ is racist and who on earth has ever looked at a bag of rice and thought of racism?”

Reaction Mixed as "Uncle Ben’s" Rice Announces New Name

Another Twitter user wrote “There was absolutely nothing wrong with the existing branding. The Uncle Ben character is a handsome, smiling, confident & intelligence-exuding man. The product has been great & dependable, like the man on the box. It’s sad to lose the image of iconic black American to wokeness.”

In their statement, they write:

Over the last several weeks, we have listened to thousands of consumers, our own Associates and other stakeholders from around the world. We understand 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. This change signals our ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining our commitment to producing the world’s best rice.

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.

Our community outreach programs will ensure underserved communities have access to the nutritious meals we all deserve. 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.

In addition, in Greenville, Mississippi – where our brand has been produced in the U.S. for more than 40 years – we will invest to address issues that have plagued this region of the U.S. for generations. This programming will focus on enhancing educational opportunities for more than 7,500 area students, as well as furthering access to fresh foods.

These initial steps are in addition to commitments from Mars, Incorporated to continue to improve racial equity throughout our business, from increased representation in our workforce, leadership and talent pipeline, to better utilizing our spend, specifically among our suppliers, to drive positive change.

While implementing an evolution on this scale will be a complex process that will take considerable time, there is no better time than right now. We will begin production of our new brand identity immediately and Ben’s Original™ will begin reaching store shelves early next year.

We hope you continue to welcome us to your dinner table, as we work to ensure everyone is always welcome at ours.

the last several weeks, we have listened to thousands of consumers, our own Associates and other stakeholders from around the world. We understand 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. This change signals our ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining our commitment to producing the world’s best rice.

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.

Our community outreach programs will ensure underserved communities have access to the nutritious meals we all deserve. 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.

In addition, in Greenville, Mississippi – where our brand has been produced in the U.S. for more than 40 years – we will invest to address issues that have plagued this region of the U.S. for generations. This programming will focus on enhancing educational opportunities for more than 7,500 area students, as well as furthering access to fresh foods.

These initial steps are in addition to commitments from Mars, Incorporated to continue to improve racial equity throughout our business, from increased representation in our workforce, leadership and talent pipeline, to better utilizing our spend, specifically among our suppliers, to drive positive change.

While implementing an evolution on this scale will be a complex process that will take considerable time, there is no better time than right now. We will begin production of our new brand identity immediately and Ben’s Original™ will begin reaching store shelves early next year.

We hope you continue to welcome us to your dinner table, as we work to ensure everyone is always welcome at ours.

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