Food Policy Packaged Food

Uncle Ben’s Is No More: Brand Name Will Be ‘Ben’s Original’ Starting In 2021

Photo courtesy of Mars, Inc. Background by David Tonelson // Shutterstock

In the past few months, products like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s, whose branding is based on racial stereotypes, have pledged to change their imagery and logos. Mars, the parent company to Uncle Ben’s, is now giving us a preview of what that will look like for the rice brand.

The products will now go under the name “Ben’s Original,” and will be used to attempt to “create a more inclusive future,” according to a press release. While the orange and blue colors will stay the same, the imagery on the packages, as well as the name, are officially retired.

“We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand, and as we announced in June, we have committed to change,” said Fiona Dawson, Global President of Mars Food, Multisales and Global Customers, said in the press release.

Mars isn’t just changing its packaging in response to the current global Black Lives Matter protests. The company has also partnered its new brand with the National Urban League to create a scholarship fund for aspiring black chefs. They will also work together to support other underserved communities globally.

One of those communities is in the hometown of Ben’s Original, Greenville, Mississippi. Mars is pledging to invest in the local community by increasing food accessibility and security while enhancing educational opportunities for students in the area.

As for the rice products themselves, they will have the new packaging and brand name starting in 2021 as Uncle Ben’s branding is phased off of shelves.

Now Trending

Get Ready, All Your Favorite Chocolate Might Soon Be More Eco-Friendly

If you’re wondering what the next big environmental kick in the food world might be, just look down at your candy bar.

We probably don’t think about what happens to our candy wrappers when we gobble up that chocolate and toss the plastic in the trash, but there are companies that have actually been thinking about it.

Over the years, gourmet chocolates have tried their hand at compostable chocolate wrappers, like in 2013, when Hnina produced its “guilt free” chocolate with biodegradable wrapping.

In 2015, Alter Eco chocolate really got the ball rolling, as it became known for producing an environmentally-friendly chocolate wrapper that “you can bury in your back yard.”

Since then, the build has slowed a bit, but Seattle Chocolate just jumped on the trend in a big way, launching compostable wrappers for its truffles, and a plan for a full switch by 2020. Their new truffle wrappers are made with cellulose, a naturally abundant organic material derived from eucalyptus trees that are sustainably harvested.

On a larger scale, big players such as Mars and Nestle have a goal of making all their candies with biodegradable packaging by 2025, according to the Huffington Post UK.

Mars in particular has made some pretty big leaps, teaming with Rodenburg Biopolymers in 2016 to create a Snickers concept wrapper made of potato starch waste, and being given top honors from the Global Bioplastics Awards.

The changes in our candies might not be immediate, but you will probably start seeing gradual changes turn into dramatic changes, as we saw when restaurants jumped on the plastic straw ban trend over the last year.

So don’t be surprised if within the next couple of years your Kit Kat and M&M’s packaging start feeling a little different than what you’re used to. The changes are coming, and like we saw with straws, they can come in a blink of an eye.

Design Entrepreneurship Products Technology

The Next Big Food Disruptor Could Come Courtesy Of Mars

The biggest names disrupting the world of food today all began as startups. I’m talking companies like Impossible Foods, who helped revolutionize the world of burger alternatives, or Chipotle, who shook up fast food with their healthier, customizable restaurant model dozens of other chains have since replicated.

While we don’t have a crystal ball to see who that next big name could be, food giant Mars is hoping to be a part of their success with their new Seeds of Change accelerator. This four month program provides young startups with up to $50,000 in total funding while acting as a growth launchpad.

Photo courtesy of Mars

Announced recently at Expo West, the accelerator is now accepting applications for its first cycle of 10 companies. The program will take place in the USA (for 6 startups) and Australia (for another 4).

For those young companies that get in, Mars will give $25,000 in grant money, no questions asked. There’s up to an additional $25,000 up for grabs for each startup as well, with that money going towards research, marketing, or whatever other functions the business really needs to scale.

Seeds of Change Accelerator director Gary Arora is looking for mission-driven businesses that fit within multiple of five different “core pillars” that make up various values at Mars. These include flavors from around the world, plant-based products, easy meal solutions, responsible food made sustainably and transparently, and items that artisanally crafted.

Arora noted that companies of any size can make it into the accelerator, the major requirement being that a product has been developed and sold, even if that just translates to a few thousand in sales.

Mars is really looking to experiment with this, and there’s no guarantee of success in such a risky venture. Those that flourish within the accelerator and beyond, though, could find themselves at the forefront at the future of food with backing from one of the world’s largest food titans. Thus, we all should be paying close attention to the Seeds of Change program to see what results come out of it.

Applications for the accelerator are open through May 31st.

Packaged Food Sweets

Getting This Mars Wrigley Candy Internship Is Like Winning Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket In Real Life

Charlie Bucket, the titular character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is the kid we all wanted to be growing up. Getting to tour a magical candy wonderland and then own it for ourselves? That’s childhood dream goals right there. For those who’ve always desired the Willie Wonka experience, there’s now a chance to get your own “Golden Ticket,” no chocolate bar lottery required.

Mars internship

Photo courtesy of Mars Wrigley

The real-life equivalent of Wonka’s Golden Ticket is a special Mars internship where you go behind the scenes of the colossal candy company. The perks of being Mars’ new “Confectionery Connoisseur Intern” are numerous, and all of them will satisfy your inner sweet tooth’s wildest desires.

In the intern role, you’ll sample chocolates and confectioneries the world doesn’t even know about yet, tour several of the candy giant’s factories, and even develop your own chewing gum flavor. Oh, and the internship is fully paid, with a signing bonus of a year’s supply of candy. Talk about a dream gig.

The best part of the job, though, may be the rewards you get outside of the seemingly never ending flow of sweets. Between the tours, tastings, and interviews available, you’ll amass a ton of info on how to run a massive candy empire. Maybe one day, you can take that experience and become the world’s next Willy Wonka, who knows? (Purple suit optional, of course.)

Mars’s internship will be based at their Global Innovation Center in Chicago, but you’d be traveling for a good chunk of the 8-12 week period. To apply, use the following link and search for “Confectionary Connoisseur” to find the application.

Alcohol Drinks News Toasty

Budweiser Wants To Make Beer On Mars, Space Tests Start This December

We haven’t set a single foot on Mars yet, but it looks like we might see beer on mars before a human.

In early March, the vice president of Anheuser-Busch said that they had aspirations to be the first beer on Mars, and while it sounded like a cute idea, Budweiser is actually going to work with the International Space Station to create a “microgravity brew.”

SpaceX will be transporting goods to the ISS Dec. 4, and among those goods will be 20 barley seeds, along with other key Budweiser ingredients, as beer on Mars might one day be a reality.

“Budweiser is always pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are inspired by the collective American Dream to get to Mars,” Ricardo Marques, vice president of Budweiser said. “We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”

While the Budweiser ingredients are up in the space station, they’re going to conduct two experiments. The first will be for seed exposure, where they’re going to let the barley seeds live on the space station for 30 days, to see how they react in outer space. The second experiment will be seed germination. In this test they will water and feed the seeds for two weeks, just as they would on Earth, to see if they can grow at a similar rate (typically 6-10 inches).

Aside from being a fun trivia question in the future, it would be nice to have beer on Mars, just in case we ever actually start living that Martian life.

Health News

Scientists Find A Potato That Can Grow On Mars And Fight World Hunger

Remember that scene from The Martian where Matt Damon was living off of potatoes he grew on Mars?

That actually might become a reality in the very near future (the potatoes part, that is).

Researchers at Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology planted 65 different varieties of potatoes in an emulated version of Mars’s soil to see if any could viably grow. Four were able to grow, but one thrived better than others and demonstrated a strong possibility that we could grow this potato — now dubbed the “Unique” potato — on the Red Planet.

Unlike the movie, where the potatoes were just grown in the soil, the researchers grew the potatoes initially in a controlled environment identical to that on Mars. After initial testing, they planted the potato varieties in a desert environment with a mixture of crushed rock and nutrients to see which grew best. The Unique potato stood out among the rest, according to Food Processing-Technology.

“The extraordinary efforts of the team have set the bar for extraterrestrial farming,” said NASA Ames planetary scientist Chris McKay about the project. “The idea of growing food for human colonies in space could be a reality very soon.”

Apart from the viability of potatoes on Mars, the research also had a secondary purpose: to publicize potatoes as a way to combat global hunger. Potatoes are actually a great crop to grow in harsh soils, and provide iron, vitamin C, and zinc. With global warming conditions as they are, we need some agricultural solutions, and fast.

This research means that we may have an alternative: growing potatoes in harsh, arid climates, including desert-like areas… and Mars.

Yes, potatoes on Mars may be the key to solving world hunger. It’s literally an out-of-this-world solution, but pressing times call for innovative answers.

Alcohol Beer Drinks News Technology

Budweiser Intends To Be The First Beer On Mars

Traveling to Mars may be a while away, but Budweiser is already looking to make sure beer is there when we arrive.

According to Adweek, the company announced their intentions to produce their brew on the “Red Planet” at a South By Southwest (SXSW) panel this past weekend. Budweiser VP Ricardo Marques and marketing innovation VP Val Toothman went into detail on possible barriers to developing the equipment necessary to make beer on Mars a thing.

Since there’s very little gravity on the red planet, the Budweiser panel acknowledged that a key obstacle would stem from working with Mars’s “microgravity” to make this brew happen. Other challenges include the notable lack of water on the planet and how ingredients like hops would be affected on Mars.

We already know that it’s possible to grow barley and hops in Mars’s soil, as research from a couple of years ago in simulated soil proved to be a success. Scientists have also been able to capture carbon dioxide and purify it, which may be a method used to carbonate the alcoholic beverages developed in Mars colonies.

While there are no specifics as to how they will do it or if it’s possible as of right now, the Budweiser panelists appeared to be optimistic.

“When we can enjoy a few ice-cold Buds on the Red Planet, that will be the moment when we can truly realize our dreams of space colonization.”

The team hopes to have the brewing technology needed to make this a reality ready within the next decade or two, which is apparently when we’ll have the ability to colonize Mars. Having it completed by then ensures that “Budweiser is the beer that people are toasting with on Mars when we get there.”

Because nothing says that humans have settled on a planet like us drinking a bunch of booze to celebrate.

Hit-Or-Miss Humor

Honoring The Most Interesting Man In The World With His Best Lines

He once took a trip to the Virgin Islands. Now they’re just called “The Islands.”

For the last decade, Jonathan Goldsmith has been seen on television portraying the life of a man so amazing and intriguing that he is simply known as…the most interesting man in the world.

After so many golden one-liners over the years, the geniuses at Dos Equis that employed him have finally decided to put the longstanding campaign to rest. In what might be the most honorable departure the world has ever known, Dos Equis put the man on a rocket ship and sent him to Mars, which I am led to believe is the equivalent to sending a regular old guy to a retirement home.

His notoriety is so well-known and popular that there was even a meme created out of him.

He is truly a spectacle to behold and a living legend. In order to properly honor him and all the crazy, borderline superhuman things he’s capable of, Livin3 put together a collection of his 100 greatest and funniest accomplishments:

  1. He gave his father “the talk”
  2. His passport requires no photograph
  3. When he drives a car off the lot, its price increases in value
  4. Once a rattlesnake bit him, after 5 days of excruciating pain, the snake finally died
  5. His 5 de Mayo party starts on the 8th of March
  6. His feet don’t get blisters, but his shoes do
  7. He once went to the psychic, to warn her
  8. If he were to punch you in the face you would have to fight off a strong urge to thank him
  9. Whatever side of the tracks he’s currently on is the right side, even if he crosses the tracks he’ll still be on the right side
  10. He can speak Russian… in French
  11. He never says something tastes like chicken.. not even chicken
  12. Superman has pijamas with his logo
  13. His tears can cure cancer, too bad he never cries
  14. The circus ran away to join him
  15. Bear hugs are what he gives bears
  16. He once brought a knife to a gunfight… just to even the odds
  17. When he meets the Pope, the Pope kisses his ring
  18. His friends call him by his name, his enemies don’t call him anything because they are all dead
  19. He has never waited 15 minutes after finishing a meal before returning to the pool
  20. If he were to visit the dark side of the moon, it wouldn’t be dark
  21. He once won a staring contest with his own reflection
  22. He can kill two stones with one bird
  23. His signature won a Pulitzer
  24. When a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, he hears it
  25. He once got pulled over for speeding, and the cop got the ticket
  26. The dark is afraid of him
  27. Sharks have a week dedicated to him
  28. His ten gallon hat holds twenty gallons
  29. No less than 25 Mexican folk songs have been written about his beard
  30. He once made a weeping willow laugh
  31. He lives vicariously through himself
  32. His business card simply says ‘I’ll Call You”
  33. He once taught a german shepherd how to bark in spanish
  34. He bowls overhand
  35. In museums, he is allowed to touch the art
  36. He is allowed to talk about the fight club
  37. He once won a fist fight, only using his beard
  38. He once won the Tour-de-France, but was disqualified for riding a unicycle
  39. A bird in his hand is worth three in the bush
  40. His lovemaking has been detected by a seismograph
  41. The Holy Grail is looking for him
  42. Roses stop to smell him
  43. He once started a fire using only dental floss and water
  44. His sweat is the cure for the common cold
  45. Bigfoot tries to get pictures of him
  46. Werewolves are jealous of his beard
  47. He once turned a vampire into a vegetarian
  48. He once won the world series of poker using UNO cards
  49. He never wears a watch because time is always on his side
  50. He has taught old dogs a variety of new tricks
  51. He has won the lifetime achievement award… twice
  52. If opportunity knocks, and he’s not at home, opportunity waits
  53. Batman watches Saturday morning cartoons about him
  54. When he was young he once sent his parents to his room
  55. He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels
  56. His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body
  57. His blood smells like cologne
  58. On every continent in the world, there is a sandwich named after him. His hands feel like rich brown suede
  59. Mosquitoes refuse to bite him purely out of respect
  60. He is fluent in all languages, including three that he only speaks
  61. Once while sailing around the world, he discovered a short cut
  62. Panhandlers give him money
  63. When he goes to Spain, he chases the bulls
  64. His shadow has been on the ‘best dressed’ list twice
  65. When he holds a lady’s purse, he looks manly
  66. Two countries went to war to dispute HIS nationality
  67. When in Rome, they do as HE does
  68. His pillow is cool on BOTH sides
  69. The Nobel Academy was awarded a prize from HIM
  70. While swimming off the coast of Australia, he once scratched the underbelly of the Great White with his right han
  71. He taught Chuck Norris martial arts
  72. Time waits on no one, but him
  73. Once he ran a marathon because it was “on the way”
  74. His mother has a tattoo that says “Son”
  75. The star on his Christmas tree is tracked by NASA
  76. Presidents take his birthday off
  77. His shirts never wrinkle
  78. He has never walked into a spider web
  79. He is left-handed. And right-handed
  80. His shirts never wrinkle
  81. The police often question him, just because they find him interesting
  82. His organ donation card also lists his beard
  83. He doesn’t believe in using oven mitts, nor potholders
  84. His cereal never gets soggy. It sits there, staying crispy, just for him
  85. Respected archaeologists fight over his discarded apple cores
  86. Even his tree houses have fully finished basements
  87. His garden maze is responsible for more missing persons than the bermuda triangle
  88. If he were to say something costs an arm and a leg, it would
  89. He’s never lost a game of chance
  90. He is the life of parties that he has never attended
  91. He was on a recent archaeological dig and came across prehistoric foot prints that lead out of Africa into all parts of the world. On close inspection, it turned out that the prints were his
  92. He once caught the Loch Ness Monster….with a cane pole, but threw it back
  93. His wallet is woven out of chupacabra leather
  94. He played a game of Russian Roulette with a fully loaded magnum, and won
  95. Freemasons strive to learn HIS secret handshake
  96. If he was to pat you on the back, you would list it on your resume
  97. He is considered a national treasure in countries he’s never visited
  98. Cars look both ways for him, before driving down a street
  99. He once tried to acquire a cold just to see what it felt like, but it didn’t take
  100. He has inside jokes with people he’s never met



Photo Credit: Youtube, CNN Money