Uncle Ben’s set for name change, rebrand

Mars Food is the latest company to change its branding to be more inclusive.

The company this week announced it will change the name of its Uncle Ben’s range to Ben’s Original, citing customer demand  for a name change due to its racist connotations. The new packaging will be in stores next year.

Both the name and imagery have been widely criticised for cultivating racial stereotypes; the terms uncle and aunty having been used as derogatory terms for people of colour, by denying them the formal titles afforded to white people.

In a statement on the decision, Mars Food Global President Fiona Dawson said the company recognised the contention around the branding and was committed to a name change and replacing the image on the package with more ‘equitable iconography’.

“Over the last several weeks, we have listened to thousands of consumers, our own Associates and other stakeholders from around the world,” Ms Dawson said.

“We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand, and as we announced in June, we have committed to change.”

The company has also launched a Ben’s Original community outreach program in the US, through its partnership with the National Urban League, as well as grassroots programs.

Mars is the latest brand to announce it was changing its branding in response to the black lives matter movement, which has highlighted ongoing cultural inequality and insensitivities.

Saputo Dairy announced in July it would retire the Coon branding, saying it did not align with current attitudes or perspectives, while Pepsi has said it will change its Aunt Jemima branding and Nestle are renaming their Red Skins and Chicos confectionery lines.

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