As the world continues to shift, the vivid orange boxed rice brand some have come
to love has officially changed its name: Ben's Original.
Yes! Following weeks of meetings with consumers, employees and stakeholders, Mars Inc., the corporation behind 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."
Mars Inc. shared the news on their Twitter account on September 23 and notably, the business profile pic of the bowtied Black man on the contents covering hasn't been updated.
During the continued fight for social equality and respect for our culture many companies have taken a stance, removing slave from the face of its products 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."
Ben’s Original 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 already in action that 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," 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."