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Bye-bye, Uncle Ben's: Company ditching long-running branding for social justice — and 2 more big brands are following suit

Following Aunt Jemima's lead

Image source: YouTube screenshot/TheBlaze composite

Uncle Ben's rice is set to overhaul its branding as a part of the company's stance against racism and support for inclusivity.

What are the details?

Uncle Ben's parent company, Mars Inc., says it will remove "Uncle Ben" from its product packaging in order to recognize racial stereotypes in advertising.

The rice has been sold in the United States under the Uncle Ben's brand since 1947.

Mars Inc. made the announcement Wednesday, saying that the time was nigh to make such a decision about the brand's evolution.

"Racism has no place in society," a portion of the company's statement read. "We stand in solidarity with the Black community, or Associates, and our partners in the fight for social justice. We know to make the systemic change needed, it's going to take a collective effort from all of us — individuals, communities, and organizations of all sizes around the world."

The company did not detail precisely what will happen to the look or the name of the brand.

Uncle Ben's took form in the 1940s and was modeled after a black Chicago waiter by the name of Frank Brown, and named after a well-known Texas rice farmer known as "Uncle Ben."

Earlier on Wednesday, Quaker Oats announced that the branding of Aunt Jemima's breakfast syrup and pancake mix — a 130-year-old brand — would be no more due to its role in perpetuating racial stereotypes.

Anything else?

Cream of Wheat is now considering making a similar move, and removing its package branding, which features a black male chef.

In a statement, Cream of Wheat's parent company, B&G Foods, Inc., said that the company is conducting a review of the branding.

"B&G Foods, Inc. today announced that we are initiating an immediate review of the Cream of Wheat brand packaging," the company said in a Wednesday statement. "We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism."

Cream of Wheat isn't the only one: Mrs. Butterworth's breakfast syrup, which features a woman as its brand face, is also considering making a similar concession. Conagra Brands, the parent company of Mrs. Butterworth's, made a Wednesday statement about the brand's future:

The Mrs. Butterworth's brand, including its syrup packaging, is intended to evoke the images of a loving grandmother. We stand in solidarity with our Black and Brown communities and we can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values.

We understand that our actions help play an important role in eliminating racial bias and as a result, we have begun a complete brand and packaging review on Mrs. Butterworth's.

It's heartbreaking and unacceptable that racism and racial injustices exist around the world. We will be part of the solution. Let's work together to progress toward change.
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