Though the company didn't announce how the rebrand will take shape, Uncle Ben's will "evolve" its "visual brand identity"

By Benjamin VanHoose
June 18, 2020 10:41 AM
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Uncle Ben's and Mrs. Butterworth's are the latest brands to address branding linked to racially insensitive stereotypes.

After PepsiCo's Quaker Oats announced on Wednesday that its Aunt Jemima line of breakfast food products would undergo a rebrand to "make progress toward racial equality," several other food companies are following suit.

In a statement on Twitter, Uncle Ben's, which is owned by Mars, Inc., wrote that their team has "a responsibility to help end racial injustices."

"We’re listening to consumers, especially in the Black community, and our Associates," read the statement. "We don’t yet know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we will evolve Uncle Ben’s visual brand identity."

Conagra Brands also issued a press release explaining that it plans to review its Mrs. Butterworth's products, writing that the packaging was "intended to evoke the images of a loving grandmother."

"We stand in solidarity with our black and brown communities and we can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values," the company said. "We understand that our actions help play an important role in eliminating racial bias and as a result, we have begun a complete brand and packaging review on Mrs. Butterworth's."

Added Conagra: "It's heartbreaking and unacceptable that racism and racial injustices exist around the world. We will be part of the solution. Let's work together to progress toward change."

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Another company, B&G Foods, Inc., also announced that it will rethink the iconography for one of its longtime brands, Cream of Wheat. In a press release on the matter, the company said it will conduct an "immediate review" of the porridge packaging.

"We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism," read the statement. "B&G Foods unequivocally stands against prejudice and injustice of any kind."

EVA HAMBACH/AFP via Getty; Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

In its announcement earlier this week, Quaker Foods acknowledged that Aunt Jemima's origins are "based on a racial stereotype."

"We are starting by removing the image and changing the name. We will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand and make it one everyone can be proud to have in their pantry," Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, said in the press statement.

Kroepfl added: "We acknowledge the brand has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the confidence, warmth and dignity that we would like it to stand for today."