Uncle Ben’s rice will no longer bear the likeness of a Black rice farmer on its packages, Mars, Inc. announced Wednesday.
The news comes after the Quaker Oats Company, which is owned by PepsiCo, decided to retire the Aunt Jemima logo from its packaging due to the company’s long history of racial stereotypes.
Mars, Inc. said the change was long overdue “to put an end to racial bias and injustices.” The company added it will look at “all possibilities” to replace the familiar logo on it’s rice products.
Mars did not indicate if the “Uncle Ben” name would remain on the packaging.
“As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the Black community, and to the voices of our Associates worldwide, we recognize that one way we can do this is by evolving the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity,’ spokeswoman Caroline Sherman said in a statement.
It’s not that Aunt Jemima was a symbol of a racist past, she was the very embodiment of a racist past. She will not be missed by anyone who knew that. pic.twitter.com/7F3yx62oYX
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) June 17, 2020
Earlier, the Quaker Company announced it would retire the famous Black character who graced bottles of Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup for over a century.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype. While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough,” said Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America.
The new Aunt Jemima syrup bottles and pancake mix packages will debut in stores in the fourth quarter of 2020, the company said. The name change will be announced soon.