LONDON (September 23, 2020) – Today, Mars Food announced it will change the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand to Ben’s Original™, signaling the brand’s ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining its commitment to producing the world’s best rice.
“Over the last several weeks, we have listened to thousands of consumers, our own Associates and other stakeholders from around the world,” said Fiona Dawson, Global President Mars Food, Multisales and Global Customers. “We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand, and as we announced in June, we have committed to change.”
The company has also committed to removing the image on the packaging to create more equitable iconography. The brand is not just changing its name and image on the package. It is also taking action to enhance inclusion and equity and setting out its new brand purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table.
Ben’s Original™ community outreach programs will ensure underserved communities have access to the nutritious meals we all deserve, as well as help culinary entrepreneurs of all colors get educational opportunities so their ideas and voices can be appreciated by all. This work will begin in the U.S. where the brand has forged a partnership with National Urban League to support aspiring Black chefs through a scholarship fund, before expanding to support other underserved communities around the world.
“Brands have an important role to play as we continue to navigate this moment of reconciliation regarding racial justice, diversity and inclusion,” said Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League. “We’re proud to partner with Ben’s Original™ as they evolve and embark on a new path with a new purpose, providing Black communities here and abroad with more equitable opportunities in education and business.”
In addition, in Greenville, Mississippi – where the Ben’s Original™ has been produced in the U.S. for more than 40 years – Mars Food will invest in the local community to address issues that have plagued this region of the U.S. for generations. This programming will focus on enhancing educational opportunities for more than 7,500 area students, as well as furthering access to fresh foods.
These initial steps are in addition to commitments from Mars, Incorporated to continue to improve racial equity, from increased representation in the company’s workforce, leadership and talent pipeline, to better utilizing spend, specifically among suppliers, to drive positive change.
“While implementing an evolution on this scale will be a complex process, there is no better time than right now,” added Dawson. “We know this is the right thing to do for our brand and business to ensure we create the truly inclusive future that everyone deserves.”
Ben’s Original™ packaging will begin reaching store shelves in 2021. For more information about the Ben’s Original™ Brand, visit http://announcement.unclebens.com.
About Mars, Incorporated
For more than a century, Mars, Incorporated has been driven by the belief that the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. This idea is at the center of who we have always been as a global, family-owned business. Today, Mars is transforming, innovating and evolving in ways that affirm our commitment to making a positive impact on the world around us.
Across our diverse and expanding portfolio of confectionery, food, and petcare products and services, we employ 133,000 dedicated Associates who are all moving in the same direction: forward. With $40 billion in annual sales, we produce some of the world’s best-loved brands including DOVE®, EXTRA®, M&M’s®, MILKY WAY®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, ORBIT®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, SKITTLES®, BEN’S ORIGINAL™, WHISKAS®, COCOAVIA®, and 5™; and take care of half of the world’s pets through our pet health services AniCura, Banfield Pet Hospitals™, BluePearl®, Linnaeus, Pet Partners™, and VCA™.
We know we can only be truly successful if our partners and the communities in which we operate prosper as well. The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – inspire our Associates to take action every day to help create a world tomorrow in which the planet, its people and pets can thrive.