2020 will be going down in history books for two reasons. First, the global COVID-19 pandemic that kept everyone indoors wearing sweatpants for most of the year. And second, the issue of the racial divide has been brought to the forefront following mass protests over the summer. The wonderful thing is, these protests have worked in getting certain companies and brands to embrace change.
One of these brands, Uncle Ben’s, made an announcement back in June that they would be changing their name and packaging. However, at the time it wasn’t clear what those changes would look like. But beginning in 2021, they will move forwards under the new name of Ben’s Original, and they’ll be removing the image that has been on the front of its boxes since the 40s.
As Ben’s Original has shared, their previous logo was first introduced in ads back in 1946. Since then, there had been a variety of illustrations depicting a man of African American descent on the box’s cover. According to the brand’s history listed on their website, their previous name, Uncle Ben, was first picked out by creator Gordon Harwell and a partner, as a way of making their products more “marketable” to customers at a Chicago restaurant.
We listened. And we learned. Moving forward, Uncle Ben's will be known as Ben’s Original™. Read our full statement to find out more about our brand's new purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table: https://t.co/0tSE0lnMa1 pic.twitter.com/741JQU1qTI
— Ben's Original USA (@BensOriginal) September 23, 2020
But now it is time for a change, and the owner of the brand, Mars Food, made the announcement that they would be making changes. But the changes aren’t just limited to the brand’s food items. Ben’s Original has been produced in Greenville, Mississippi for more than 40 years. And now, Mars Food will be looking to further invest in Greenville’s community as well, starting with a program to bolster “educational opportunities” for the more than 7,500 students living in the area. The company also shared that they will be looking to make fresh food more readily accessible to members of the community as well.
But their changes for the community don’t just stop there. Mars Foods also partnered with the National Urban League as a means of providing a scholarship fund that would help aspiring chefs who are African American – a scholarship that the brand hopes to eventually roll out worldwide in order to help disadvantaged communities elsewhere.
Fiona Dawson, a spokesperson for Mars Food, shared in a statement, “Over the last several weeks, we have listened to thousands of consumers, our own associates and other stakeholders from around the world. 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.”
Thankfully, Ben’s Original isn’t the only company that is making changes for the better. The syrup brand, Aunt Jemima, also announced that they would be making some changes to both their name and packaging. Additionally, Cream of Wheat, which has had the same packaging since 1901, would also be fixing its logo as well. About time.
What do you think of these changes? Let us know!SKM: below-content placeholder