Mars Cooks Up Whole Grain Version of Uncle Ben’s

Mars next week will launch Uncle Ben’s Boil-in-Bag Whole Grain Brown Rice, a new product that claims to offer healthy eating and convenience.

Print ads for Boil-in-Bag Whole Grain Brown Rice will start running in health-focused publications in March. The product costs $2.59 and is the first whole grain version for Uncle Ben’s, which has been selling boil-in-bag rice products since the 1980s.

Advertising plays up the fact that each serving contains 48 grams of whole grain, which is the daily amount recommended by current U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. The whole grain version taps into consumer demand for both whole grain and convenient meal preparation, said Sean Silk, marketing director for the Uncle Ben’s brand.

The launch follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision last year to extend the whole grain health claim to include brown rice. (The latter was originally left out as it contained low dietary fiber content.)

Packaging for the product, which hits shelves next week, bears the Whole Grains Council 100% Whole Grain stamp.

“While brown rice has always been a whole grain, this approval now allows it to receive the nutritional recognition it deserves,” Silk said of the new packaging.

Mars spent $15 million advertising its Uncle Ben’s brand in 2007, and $10 million last year (excluding online), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.