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The move was made by Mars Food, which owns the brand, in a bid to be more “inclusive”. Ben’s Original went on sale in the US in May, and will become available in the UK over the next few weeks.
There had been claims the name and logo of Uncle Ben’s rice, which depicted a black rice farmer, were racist.
In a statement, Mars Food said the change was “the brand’s next step in its ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining its commitment to producing the world’s best rice”.
According to The Grocer, black men in the US south were sometimes called ‘uncle’ to avoid using ‘mister’, a more respectful term.
Mars vowed to “evolve” its brand last summer after Black Lives Matter protests broke out across the US.
Uncle Ben’s rice has been renamed Ben’s Original over racism fears
Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the world last summer
This followed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by Derek Chauvin, a police officer.
In June 2020, during the height of the protests, Mars commented: “As a global brand, we know we have a responsibility to take a stand in helping to put an end to racial bias and injustices.
“As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the black community, and to the voices of our associates worldwide, we recognise that now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand.”
Ben’s Original also announced it will introduce its ‘Seat at the Table Fund’, which provides food industry apprenticeships to underrepresented communities, to Britain.
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Mars Food said they have “a responsibility” to fight “racial bias and injustices”
This initiative will be supported by £250,000 for the next five years.
Rafael Narvaez, Mars Food’s global CEO, commented: “Everyone deserves to feel welcome, heard and have access to nutritious food.
“That’s why we’ve committed to taking actions designed to enhance inclusion and equity in service of our new brand purpose, to create meals, experiences and opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table.”
The company has vowed to give £100,000 this year to support The Trussell Trust, a charity that runs food banks across Britain.
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England and Scotland players took the knee ahead of Friday’s game
There were both cheers and boos when players took the knee
In a show of support for racial justice, the England football team has been taking the knee ahead of Euro 2020 matches.
On Friday this provoked both cheers and boos before a 0-0 draw with Scotland at Wembley.
England manager Gareth Southgate wrote an open letter to fans urging them to respect the gesture.
He commented: “I am confident that young kids of today will grow up baffled by old attitudes and ways of thinking.
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“For many of that younger generation, your notion of Englishness is quite different from my own. I understand that, too.
“I understand that on this island, we have a desire to protect our values and traditions — as we should — but that shouldn’t come at the expense of introspection and progress.”
On Friday a US couple who pointed guns at protesters during last year’s demonstrations pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges, but defended their actions.
Black Lives Matter protests also took place in London last year
Mark and Patricia McCloskey insisted they were protecting their property from an “angry mob” during the incident on June 28.
Speaking outside court Mr McCloskey said: “I’d do it again.
“Any time the mob approaches me, I’ll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family.”