Uncle Ben's Brand Invites Families to Get Cooking

Actress Angie Harmon and “The Rachael Ray Show” Help Kick-Off Culinary Competition


Uncle Ben’s, the No. 1 selling brand of rice in the United States, today announced the launch of the Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest, designed to empower and encourage parents to connect with their kids, one meal at a time. Part of the Brand’s BEGIN WITH BEN campaign, which illustrates how Uncle Ben’s rice gives you an easy start to a world of better meals, Ben’s Beginners provides tools and tips to encourage families to cook and eat together.

Parents with children (ages 5-12) are invited to submit home videos that show the family together in the kitchen introducing a rice-based dish they prepared and discussing their experience cooking together. Consumers will have an opportunity to vote for their favorites and one grand prize winner will receive $20,000 cash, an appearance on “The Rachael Ray Show” and a $50,000 cafeteria makeover for the child’s school. Videos can be submitted until Feb. 26, 2012, where official contest rules, kid-friendly recipes, and helpful hints can also be found.

“Our goal is to demonstrate and celebrate that cooking with your kids leads to a better relationship with food and with each other,” said Tim Snyder, vice president of marketing, Mars Food US, the parent company of the Uncle Ben’s Brand. “As a company, Mars Food strongly supports healthy eating and family togetherness. We are thrilled to be launching a campaign that will help parents establish healthy beginnings in their children’s lives.”

Actress and Mom Angie Harmon Champions Family Cooking

To announce the launch of the contest, the Uncle Ben’s Brand is hosting a hands-on educational event this week for children in New York City. Actress and mother of three, Angie Harmon will join more than 30 local elementary school children and their parents as they learn how to prepare kid-friendly recipes and receive tips to create simple, healthful, flavorful meals at home. Attendees will also enjoy a special luncheon featuring exclusive Uncle Ben’s Brand recipes including Sweet & Sticky Rice Salad and Lemony Chicken Rice Stew.

“As a mother of three, it’s extremely important to me that my children are in the kitchen with me to understand where their food comes from and how it’s prepared,” said Harmon, star of TNT drama Rizzoli & Isles. “I’m excited to be working with the Uncle Ben’s Brand to encourage parents and children to reconnect in the kitchen to develop a healthy relationship with food and each other.”

To help celebrate the contest launch, the Uncle Ben’s Brand is partnering with “The Rachael Ray Show” to encourage families to get in the kitchen and get cooking. Harmon will be a guest on the award-winning daytime show to officially kick off the contest, with additional segments planned to feature a live cook-off with four finalists and to announce the grand prize winner.
 “We’re thrilled that the Uncle Ben's Brand is launching its Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest to help families start cooking freshly prepared meals and to connect in the kitchen,” said Andrew Kaplan, executive director of the Yum-o! organization. “The donation that we will receive as a result of this program and fans voting for their favorite video will allow us to continue to foster a healthy relationship between kids, their families and the food they eat."

The Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest is an extension of last year’s successful kick off of the global Begin With Ben campaign, which made a grain of rice a hero for better eating and family togetherness. The campaign visually illustrates the journey of a single grain of rice to a family’s dinner table and encourages consumers to consider rice as a great beginning to any meal – versus simply a side dish.

For more contest information visit BensBeginnersContest.com or for Uncle Ben’s products, visit unclebens.com