Official website: http://www.unclebens.ca/en-ca/Home.aspx
Let me start off by telling you that I didn’t pay for this product. My husband, daughter, and I were walking down a busy downtown street and noticed a large group of orange shirts handing out ‘something’ to people. We had no clue what they were doing but eventually we caught up to their slower pace and discovered that they were handing out these Uncle Ben’s Rice and Sauce microwaveable meals. I asked if I could read the ingredient list and was surprised that they weren’t any crazy chemicals so I thanked them for the samples and took them home. So, can you guess what I’m going to tell you?
Product review: What happened?
One day at lunch, I decided to try the Uncle Ben’s Rice and Sauce microwaveable meal. It came in 2 separately sealed containers, one for the rice and one for the sauce. It claims that all I have to do is microwave them for 90 seconds and I’ll have a meal ready for me. The people in orange shirts also told me the same thing, but there was NO WAY I was going to stick a plastic container into the microwave when I could use a glass plate so that’s what I did. When I opened the sauce container, I noticed that my teriyaki seemed a little gelatinous but thought it might look better after it got warmed up. I poured my sauce on top of the rice and microwaved it on a ceramic plate for the designated 90 seconds.
Here is where I pause and try to be professionally positive and not completely bash this product to smithereens. This Uncle Ben’s Rice and Sauce microwaveable meal is saved by the one fact that they don’t have any crazy chemicals in it. That’s it. I personally found it too sweet for my tastebuds. The sugar on the ingredient list (yes, real sugar at least) was too overpowering and that’s really all you can taste. I found the rice odd in texture but that could be because I don’t usually eat cooked rice that’s been sitting in a plastic container on a shelf. I may be biased but the texture of the rice reminded me of a gummy bear. I ate a few bites and sadly, I tossed the rest of it in the garbage. I’m sure it’ll decompose.
Now, I realized that I might have been biased so you’ll be happy to know that I had a friend try the Uncle Ben’s Rice and Sauce microwaveable meal to get a second opinion. Let’s call her GP (short for guinea pig). GP never gets a chance to eat lunch. She’s often too busy to eat and half the time is scrounging for something edible before she passes out. So, if nothing else, GP should have a more positive view of the Uncle Ben’s Rice and Sauce microwaveable meal since it is better than eating nothing.
Well, GP followed the instructions but like me, also warmed it up on a glass plate. You’ll be happy to know that GP ate the whole thing and found it was exactly what she needed because yet again, she had no lunch and was close to losing consciousness. GP found the rice to be fine as it was but also found the sauce much too sweet. Being a vegetarian, the meatless sauce (it does have veggies in it) worked in her favour. So there, you’ve been 2 different sets of opinions.
Will I buy the Uncle Ben’s Rice and Sauce microwaveable meal in the future? NO..a big giant capital NO. I really couldn’t stomach the texture of the rice, the sweetness of the sauce and how far it fell from the teriyaki claim. The fact that the cooked rice just sits there in a plastic container also creeps me out. I had visions of creepy crawly bacteria sitting in the plastic container multiplying happily because honestly, I don’t know how long the stuff has been sitting in a hot delivery truck or on a supermarket shelf. I can’t imagine spending money on this product when I’m sure the cost of one Uncle Ben’s Rice and Sauce microwaveable meal would probably buy me a whole bag of uncooked rice.
Ask my friend GP and she probably won’t buy it either. It was a good quick fix but it wasn’t memorable or amazing enough to warrant a purchase.
Now, I did really like the orange Uncle Ben’s folks who were spreading the Uncle Ben’s good cheer. Whoever hired them did a phenomenal job of choosing friendly, engaging, and professional people. It was also a great marketing idea, very grassroots, very noticeable and as a result, it’s got a product review on my food and product review blog. It’s just a shame that the product didn’t live up to its potential. On top of it all, the waste that this product generates just doesn’t seem right especially when I can make something better and I’m not even a chef. Sorry folks, had to be honest!
Note: I can tell you one thing – this product is so new that it’s not even out on the Uncle Ben’s website yet! When we got the sample, the orange t-shirt folks told me it would be in the grocery stores ‘next week’ but that was a couple of weeks ago. Not sure why I couldn’t find it on the Uncle Ben’s website (maybe it’s there and I just didn’t see it). So, consider this a heads up on a very new product!