In September, Uncle Ben’s announced it was changing its name to Ben’s Original and dropped the image of a Black man from its packaging in an effort to detach itself from offensive stereotypes amid the ongoing racial-justice reckoning in America.
Now, the Mars Food brand is releasing the new packaging, which will begin appearing on store shelves in the U.S. this week and will roll out to other countries gradually.
Mars is working with retailers to change out the packaging, but the current rice product will not be removed from store shelves. That means customers will see the new version alongside the old until the previous product sells out.
The new packaging keeps the colors of the original intact so consumers can identify the rice with the brand’s familiar orange background and navy blue font. The Ben’s Original brand mark is a derivative of Cooper Black and what the brand calls a "modernized version of the previous brand mark." Photos of the rice take up the majority of the box or pouch. The rice itself remains unchanged.
Originally, Ben's Original told Ad Age it planned to create “equitable iconography” as part of its rebrand, but says “after careful consideration, including listening to thousands of consumers, associates and customers, we believe the decision to not add new iconography is the best path forward at this stage of our evolution.”