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The UNCLE BEN'S® Brand Inspires Parents And Kids Everywhere To Connect In The Kitchen And Cook Healthy Meals Together

Chef Marcus Samuelsson Champions the Movement and Helps Launch Third Annual Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest

RANCHO DOMINGUEZ, Calif., Aug. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The UNCLE BEN'S® Brand, the number-one selling brand of rice in the United States, has teamed up with New York-based celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson to announce the third annual Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest, designed to inspire healthy lifelong eating habits by encouraging parents and kids to cook together. Beginning today, parents with children in grades K-8 can submit home videos of their families' preparing a rice-based dish and discussing their experience cooking together.

This year, participants will vie for the chance to win one of five grand prize packages which includes $15,000 cash, a hometown celebration and a $30,000 cafeteria makeover for their child's school. Submissions for the Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Oct. 10, 2014.  Families can visit to find kid-friendly recipe ideas, cooking tips and the official contest rules.

"The bond that can blossom between parents and their children when cooking together is enormous," said Tim Snyder, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mars Food North America, the parent company of the UNCLE BEN'S® Brand. "It's our goal to instill this bond in families and at the same time, get kids to learn about healthy eating."

Now more than ever, research shows a positive association between family meal times and children's diets. In fact, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, eating dinner as a family at least three times a week helps kids maintain a normal weight and develop healthier eating habits.  For the third year, the Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest will bring parents and their children together in a fun, educational atmosphere to help kids learn the benefits of healthy eating habits and a strong family connection. 

To celebrate the launch, the UNCLE BEN'S® Brand will hit the road for a five-market tour to St. Louis (Aug. 21), Tampa (Aug. 27), Cincinnati (Sept. 4), San Francisco (Sept. 9) and Boston (Sept. 15) to host family cooking events that bring together communities and past contestants with a local celebrity chef for a fun-filled day of activities.  In early December, the contest will culminate with community events attended by Chef Marcus Samuelsson to award the five Ben's Beginners™ grand prize winners in each of their hometowns.

About the UNCLE BEN'S® Brand
The UNCLE BEN'S® Brand, the number one rice brand in America, is proud to offer a wide range of rice dishes with flavors and textures that will help bring more to your meals, both for savory main courses and convenient side dishes. The UNCLE BEN'S® Brand offers a wide variety of white, whole grain brown, and flavored rices in cook times ranging from 30 minutes to 90 seconds, as well as rice for food service operations such as restaurants, schools and hospitals. The first mass-produced parboiled rice, UNCLE BEN'S® Brand is the top-selling branded rice in the United States and products can be found in more than 100 countries worldwide. The UNCLE BEN'S® Brand products are manufactured by Mars Food North America, part of Mars, Incorporated. For more information, visit

Fiese, B., & Hammons, A. (2011). Is frequency of shared family meals related to the nutritional health of children and adolescents? Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 127, 1565-1574.

Rebecca Reese
[email protected]


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