ORLANDO, Fla. -- According to a study commissioned by Uncle Ben's(R), only 12 percent of U.S. adults are eating the recommended two-to-three servings of whole grains a day, even though 86 percent agree that eating whole grain foods is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, only 1 in 10 say they are most likely to consume whole grains at dinner, citing lack of recipes, perceived cooking time and taste.

Uncle Ben's commissioned a study with Harris Interactive(R) to determine what is preventing Americans from incorporating whole grains into their diets and what solutions can increase consumption.

The study finds that about half of American adults (51 percent) say it is difficult for them to make meal choices that include whole grain foods. A majority of consumers say they would be more likely to eat brown rice if they could buy a variety that was 100 percent natural or flavored and if they could cook it in 5 minutes or less or with no clean-up.

"This study suggests that consumers are in need of convenient, simple-to- prepare whole grain foods at dinner. Our portfolio of delicious whole grain brown rice provides consumers with the variety they need to easily incorporate whole grains into their diet," said Bryan Crowley, Vice President, Marketing for Uncle Ben's.

Nutritionists weigh in on whole grains

In conjunction with the consumer study, Uncle Ben's conducted a discussion group with nutritionists to further evaluate consumption barriers facing today's consumers. The study revealed that increasing whole grains consumption is of utmost importance to dietitians, second only to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

Nutritionists recognize the barriers consumers face and are in agreement that convenience, lack of knowledge and ability to identify whole grains, are the biggest problems consumers face in meeting daily-recommended whole grain intake.

"What is distressing is that people don't know how to meet an important dietary goal and that they don't recognize the variety of whole grain options available, especially for consumption at dinner," said Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD, University of Minnesota and expert consultant to the Dietary Guidelines Committee.

"Eating healthfully at each meal is an achievable goal and having options, like a wide-variety of brown rice products, make it easier for consumers to eat nutritious foods."

Recognizing the need for a variety of delicious and convenient options at dinner, Uncle Ben's(R) announced today at the Whole Grains Conference two new whole grain brown rice offerings -- Uncle Ben's(R) Ready Rice(R) Chicken Whole Grain Brown and Uncle Ben's(R) Fast & Natural(TM) Whole Grain Instant Brown Rice.

Uncle Ben's(R) Ready Rice(R) Chicken Whole Grain Brown is the first nationally available flavored brown rice that is ready to eat in just 90 seconds and provides natural flavor in every grain with no seasoning packets. In addition to the two new products, the Uncle Ben's(R) Brand offers other whole grain options including Ready Rice(R) Whole Grain Brown and Natural Whole Grain Brown Rice.

Mars USA, the U.S. food, snack and petcare division of Mars Inc., is one of the world's leading food manufacturers. With more than $5 billion in annual sales, the combined food, snack and petcare segments are a symbol of excellence for quality brands.

Harris Interactive Inc., based in Rochester, N.Y., is most widely known for The Harris Poll(R) and for its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry.

SOURCE: Uncle Ben's via PR Newswire.