Mars Food, which has a factory in King's Lynn is rebranding its Uncle Ben's products
Mars Food, which has a factory in Lynn, is rebranding one of its well-known products having pledged to review its brands in the wake of the protests triggered by George Floyd's murder in the US.
Its Uncle Ben's brand is changing to Ben's Original, with the new packaging set to land on shop shelves in 2021. The company will also remove the image of a bow-tied black man from its packaging "to create more equitable iconography."
Mars Food promised in June to review the brand following protests over police brutality and racism.
This week, Mars announced that the name change "signalled the brand’s ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining its commitment to producing the world’s best rice."
Fiona Dawson, global president of Mars Food, said: “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.”
A company statement said: "The brand is not just changing its name and image on the package. It is also taking action to enhance inclusion and equity and setting out its new brand purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table."
Uncle Ben's has been on sale since the 1940s and for decades has been the best-selling rice in the US.
Titles such as "uncle" and "aunt" were used in southern US states to refer to black people, instead of the more formal and respectful "Miss" or "Mister".