The Uncle Ben’s brand identity will be changed, the mother company Mars announced after Quaker Oats decided to retire its 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo.
Mars said Wednesday that it would “evolve” the brand, which references a black farmer known as Uncle Ben. The title, however, references honorifics used by white southerners to refer to older blacks — “uncle” and “aunt” instead of “Mr.” and “Mrs.”, according to the New York Times.
“As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the Black community, and to the voices of our Associates worldwide, we recognize that now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do,” the statement says.
Mars has yet to detail what the changes will be, but they are “evaluating all possibilities.”
The announcement comes after Quaker Oats said it would change its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup packaging because the brand “origins are based on a racial stereotype.”
The brand features a black woman, Aunt Jemima, dressed as a minstrel character. (RELATED: Quaker Announces That It Will Change Name, Remove Logo From Aunt Jemima Brand)
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,”Kristin Kroepfl, a spokesperson for Quaker, said in a press release. “As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we must also take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations.”
ConAgra, which makes Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, also announced a full review of its brand, whose package is meant to evoke a “loving grandmother,” but the company said it “can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values.”