The cancel culture is moving so quickly it’s difficult to keep track. Monuments have been toppled and police in all forms are being targeted, from the movement to defund them, to television shows about cops getting canceled to Paw Patrol’s Chase being eyed, to Lego’s temporarily pulling advertising for their police and White House sets. A number of brands also have the bullseye on them. Quaker announced they are canceling Aunt Jemima syrup and pancake mix, giving the products a new name and look. Uncle Ben’s rice and Cream of Wheat appear to be next on the chopping block.
“B&G Foods, Inc. today announced that we are initiating an immediate review of the Cream of Wheat brand packaging,” the company said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
Similarly, Uncle Ben’s said they, too, have a “responsibility to help end racial injustices.”
We have a responsibility to help end racial injustices. We’re listening to consumers, especially in the Black community, and our Associates. We don’t yet know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we will evolve Uncle Ben’s visual brand identity. pic.twitter.com/n0e1pZ75OF— Uncle Ben's USA (@UncleBens) June 17, 2020
“As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the black community, and to the voice 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,” Mars Inc., the parent company of Uncle Ben’s, said in a statement. “Racism has no place in society. We stand in solidarity with the black community, our associates and our partners in the fight for social justice.”
The name Uncle Ben’s was first used in 1946, according to the company’s website.
But who is Uncle Ben? Actually, he was two people! The name comes from a black Texan farmer—known as Uncle Ben—who grew rice so well, people compared CONVERTED® Brand Rice to his standard of excellence. The proud and dignified gentleman on our boxes, who has come to personify the brand, was a beloved Chicago chef and waiter named Frank Brown.
How these changes help end racial injustices is still a mystery.