Posted on June 18, 2020 by Sustainable Food News

Top food cos. ridding brands of racist imagery

Owners of Uncle Ben's, Mrs. Butterworth’s, and Cream of Wheat brands to follow lead of Aunt Jemima owner PepsiCo

In the wake of PepsiCo’s plans to remove racist imagery from packaging of its Aunt Jemima brand of pancake mixes and syrups, other major food manufacturers appear to be following suit.

Mars Inc., Conagra Brands and B&G Foods have all announced similar plans to remove images based on racial stereotypes.from their Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s and Cream of Wheat brands.

“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,” Chicago-based Conagra Brands said in a statement Wednesday. “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. 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.”

Mars, McLean, Va.-based Mars Inc. said it will change the Uncle Ben’s rice brand identity after pushback from consumers.

“We don’t yet know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we are evaluating all possibilities,” Mars 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.”

B&G Foods, based in Parsippany, N.J., said it would review the racist imagery on its Cream of Wheat brand and packaging, which features a black chef.

“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,” B&G Foods said in a statement. “B&G Foods unequivocally stands against prejudice and injustice of any kind.”

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