The company behind Cream of Wheat, B&G Foods, has decided to remove the image of the black chef holding a hot bowl of cereal from its packaging. This comes after Quaker Oats revealed that it would be removing Aunt Jemima from their brand of syrup and pancake mix.
On Wednesday, B&G Foods released a statement saying: “B&G Foods, Inc. today announced that we are initiating an immediate review of the Cream of Wheat brand packaging. 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.”
The company that produces Uncle Ben’s rice released a statement on Wednesday stating that “now was the right time to evolve” their brand. Their package shows an elderly black man wearing a tuxedo next to the trademark saying, “Perfect Every Time.”
Mars Inc., the parent company behind Uncle Ben’s brand, released a statement saying, “We know we have a responsibility to take a stand in helping to put an end to racial bias and injustices.”
“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. We know to make the systemic change needed, it’s going to take a collective effort from all of us — individuals, communities and organizations of all sizes around the world,” the statement continued.
According to the company’s website, Uncle Ben’s was founded as Converted Brand Rice by Erich Huzenlaub and Gordon Harwell. The “Uncle Ben’s” brand was created in the 1940s after the founders found out about a renowned Texas rice farmer nicknamed Uncle Ben.
The packaging features a picture of Frank Brown, who was a waiter at the Chicago restaurant where Harwell first got the idea.
Also on Wednesday, Quaker Oats stated that Aunt Jemima, its 131-year-old syrup, was going to be renamed and rebranded after complaints stated that the brand was built on a “racial stereotype.”
“As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, stated in a press release.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype. While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough. We acknowledge the brand has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the confidence, warmth and dignity that we would like it to stand for today. We are starting by removing the image and changing the name,” Kroepfl added. “We will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand and make it one everyone can be proud to have in their pantry.”