According to Mars, Uncle Ben was an African-American rice grower known for the quality of his rice. Gordon L. Harwell, an entrepreneur who had supplied rice to the armed forces in World War II, chose the name Uncle Ben’s as a means to expand his marketing efforts to the general public.
In March 2007, Uncle Ben’s image was “promoted” to the “chairman of the board” by a new advertising campaign.
Aunt Jemima is a brand of pancake mix, syrup, and other breakfast foods owned by the Quaker Oats Company of Chicago, a subsidiary of PepsiCo. The trademark dates back to 1893, although the Aunt Jemima pancake mix debuted in 1889.
The Quaker Oats Company first registered the Aunt Jemima trademark in April 1937. The character appears to have been a Reconstruction-era addition to that cast.
Following the killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests, on June 17, 2020, Quaker Oats announced that the Aunt Jemima brand would be replaced with a new name and image by Fall 2020 in order “to make progress toward racial equality.”
In September 2017, Mars, Inc. announced plans to certify the sustainability of basmati rice sold under the Uncle Ben’s brand. This move is carried to encourage the local farmers to opt for the best agricultural methods.
On June 17, 2020, Mars, Inc. announced that they would be “evolving” the brand’s identity, including the brand’s logo.
The move followed Quaker’s PepsiCo’s decision to scrap the Aunt Jemima name and logo.
There is no word from Cracker Jack or Cracker Barrel as of yet.