“We listened, and we learned. We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the Uncle Ben’s brand and have committed to change,” the brand said in a statement released today (Sept. 23). “We will change our name to Ben’s Original™ as well as remove the image on our packaging to create more inclusive branding. This change signals our ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining our commitment to producing the world’s best rice.”
Ben’s Originals revealed it will also take action to “enhance inclusion and equity” and detailed initiatives that it hopes will help give everyone a “seat at the table.”
According to the statement, the rice brand plans to fund scholarships for hopeful Black culinary entrepreneurs, help get access to fresh foods and will invest in the education of 7,500 students in the area of Greenville, Mississippi where the brand has been produced.
A new logo for Ben’s Originals is being developed, and the new packaging will be seen in stores next year.
The decision to rename Uncle Ben’s was announced back in June after the brand was criticized and forced to re-evaluate its racial imagery.
“As a global brand, we know we have a responsibility to help put an end to racial injustices,” the company said at the time. “One way we can do this is to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand and visual identity which we will do. We’re listening to the voices of consumers, especially in the Black community, and to our associates worldwide. We don’t yet know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we are evaluating all possibilities.”
Uncle Ben’s was one of the many companies that changed their racist names and images following George Floyd’s death. His killing sparked Black Lives Matter protests and a call for the investment and support of Black-owned businesses.
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We listened. And we learned. We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the Uncle Ben’s brand and 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 inclusive branding. 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, 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 first actions will be to fund scholarships with National Urban League that will ensure aspiring Black culinary entrepreneurs get the educational opportunities they deserve so their ideas and voices can be appreciated by all. In addition to the new scholarship, we will invest in Greenville, Mississippi, where our brand has been produced for the U.S. market for more than 40 years, to enhance educational opportunities for more than 7,500 area students, as well as furthering access to fresh foods. Read more about our commitments to an equitable future for all at the link in bio.