The UNCLE BEN'S® Brand Inspires Parents To Make Kitchens A Kid-Friendly Place For Families To Cook Together

Brand Propels the Movement to Get Kids Cooking and Launches the Fourth Annual Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest

Aug 26, 2015, 11:59 ET from The UNCLE BEN’S Brand

RANCHO DOMINGUEZ, Calif., Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- With tall counters, sharp knives and hot stoves, the kitchen can be a scary place for many adult cooks, let alone kids. But it doesn't have to be.  With this in mind, the UNCLE BEN'S® Brand, the number-one selling brand of rice in the United States, is launching its annual Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest. Now in its fourth year, Ben's Beginners™ is designed to make the kitchen a welcoming place for the entire family by encouraging parents and kids to cook together.  Beginning today, U.S. parents with children in grades Kindergarten through eighth grade can submit a three-minute home video of their family preparing a rice-based dish while discussing their experience cooking together.

"Learning to cook is a crucial life skill that helps build healthy eating habits kids can carry with them for life," said Lara McCauley, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Mars Food North America, the parent company of the UNCLE BEN'S® Brand. "This year we want to continue to encourage families to cook together and also offer tips and innovative ways to make kitchens more kid-friendly for our young chefs."

To launch this year's contest, the UNCLE BEN'S® Brand is creating the ultimate kid-friendly "Dream Kitchen" and enlisted the help of experts: kids themselves. On September 25 in New York City, the UNCLE BEN'S® Brand will celebrate the Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest by incorporating "Dream Kitchen" ideas submitted by children in Kindergarten through eighth grade from across the United States. In addition to this one-of-a-kind kitchen, the UNCLE BEN'S® Brand will help parents with tips and tricks on how to invite their kids into the kitchen to cook with them.  These tips will also be shared on, along with more information about the Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest, kid-friendly recipe ideas and cooking tips, and the official contest rules.  

Participants in the Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest will vie for the chance to win one of five grand prize packages which includes $15,000 cash, a $30,000 cafeteria makeover for their child's school and a hometown celebration.  Starting today, submissions will be accepted on until 11:59 a.m. EDT on Oct. 12, 2015.  The contest is part of the influential Ben's Beginners™ movement to encourage parents and kids to spend time in the kitchen cooking healthy meals. Ben's Beginners™ has helped bring the importance of family meal times and its positive effect on children to the forefront nationwide. Research has shown that children who eat with their family eat healthier as adultsi, are less likely to resort to quick fixes like fast foodii and eat more healthy foods including fruit and vegetablesiii. The fourth annual Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest offers an exciting way for parents and kids to make lifelong memories in the kitchen as they cook for the chance to better their community and school with a single dish.

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

i Eisenberg M, Neumark-Sztainer D, Fulkerson J, Story M. Family meals and substance use: Is there a long-term protective association? J Adol Health 2008; 43:151-156.

ii Berge M, Wall M, Hsueh TF, Fulkerson JA, Larson N,Neumark-Sztainer D. The Protective Role of Family Meals for Youth Obesity: 10-Year Longitudinal Associations. Pediatrics. Published online September 29, 2014.

iii Videon T, Manning C. Influences on adolescent eating patterns: The importance of family meals. J Adol Health 2003; 32:365-373.

Alyssa Bermudes

Matt Hurst