Uncle Ben’s rice says ‘now is the right time to evolve the brand’

National

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 23: Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice is seen during Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest Launch Event: Back to the Future Of Cooking at Home Studios on August 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Uncle Ben’s)

NEW YORK — The owner of the Uncle Ben’s brand of rice says the brand will “evolve” in response to concerns about racial stereotyping.

Caroline Sherman, a spokeswoman for Mars, which owns Uncle Ben’s, says the company is listening to the voices of consumers, especially in the black community, and recognizes that “now is the right time to evolve the brand, including its visual identity.”

In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, activists and consumers have demanded that companies take a stand against racial injustice or lose their business.

The singer Kirby posted a TikTok video called “How to Make a Non Racist Breakfast” explaining some of the backstory of the Aunt Jemima brand. That video went viral.

Land O’Lakes announced earlier this year that it would no longer use the Native American woman who had graced its packages of butter, cheese and other products since the late 1920s.

Also on Wednesday, Quaker Oats announced it is retiring the 131-year-old Aunt Jemima brand, saying the company recognizes the character’s origins are “based on a racial stereotype.”

Quaker, which is owned by PepsiCo, said its overhauled pancake mix and syrup will hit shelves by the fourth quarter of 2020. The company will announce the new name at a later date.

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