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Uncle Ben's rice unveils new name: Ben's Original

Name change was prompted by protests, civil unrest
Uncle Ben's rice unveils new name: Ben's Original
Posted at 6:31 AM, Sep 23, 2020

NEW YORK — The Uncle Ben’s rice brand is changing its name to Ben's Original.

Parent company Mars Inc. is the latest company to drop a logo criticized as a racial stereotype.

Mars said the Ben's Original packaging will hit stores in 2021.

Since the 1940s, the rice boxes have featured a white-haired Black man, sometimes with a bowtie.

According to Uncle Ben's website, the name "Uncle Ben" refers to a "legendary Texan farmer, Uncle Ben who was known for his exceptionally high-quality rice." Frank Brown, a maitre d' at a Chicago restaurant, posed for "Uncle Ben's" portrait, which has since served as the brand's logo.

Critics have said the image evoke servitude.

Global President for Mars Food Fiona Dawson says the company is still deciding on an image to accompany the new name.

Pressure on brands to retire racial imagery have intensified amid the Black Lives Matter protests over police killings of unarmed African Americans.

Aunt Jemima syrup and pancake mix was the first company to announce a planned name change amid widespread civil unrest. Other brands like Cream of Wheat and Eskimo Pie have said they will retire racial logos.