The rice is still in the familiar orange package but it looks a little different and has a new name.
Mars Food last year said it would change the package for it’s Uncle Ben’s brand rice after it was criticized for using racially insensitive stereotypes.
The rebranding to Ben’s Original also removed the picture of a Black man from the package.
Today, Mars Food said the new packages are now available at retailers nationwide.
“The new packaging is the brand’s next step in its ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining its commitment to producing the world’s best rice,” Mars said in a news release.
“Ben’s Original is not just a name and packaging change – we believe everyone deserves to feel welcome, heard and have access to nutritious food,” said Rafael Narvaez, Global CMO and R&D Officer, Mars Food.
“That’s why we’ve committed to taking actions based on insights from thousands of consumers, as well as our own Associates, that are designed to enhance inclusion and equity in service of our new brand purpose to create meals, experiences and opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table.”
“Today is a big moment for Ben’s Original,” said Denis Yarotsky, regional president, Mars Food North America. “Getting to this point on our brand evolution journey has been the result of our continuing commitment to listen to consumers, as well as the support and dedication of our Mars Food associates.
But it is just another marker on our journey. We recognize we have much more work to do as we bring our new brand purpose to life to offer everyone a seat at the table; we remain committed to delivering this ambition.”
The brand also created the Seat at the Table Fund to “create equal opportunities for people from those communities to pursue careers in the food industry so their ideas and voices can be appreciated by all.”
The fund is accepting applications from Black students for its first scholarship. The deadline to apply is June 30.
“The scholarship was developed in partnership with the National Urban League and United Negro College Fund and covers education-related expenses up to $25,000 per scholarship, per year, towards the completion of either a food science or culinary arts certificate, Associate or Bachelor’s degree.
The renewable, need-based scholarship is designed to reduce and help eliminate the disproportionate debt Black students face, as well as positively affect the pathway to employment and advancement within the food industry.”
Black high school seniors and those already enrolled in two- or four-year programs, as well as Black adults interested in specialized certifications in the food industry can apply.
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