Quick rice's latest design is to be pre-cooked in a bag that also serves as a microwaveable package. The varieties seen all can be made in less than two minutes, such as Patak's (Haydock, Lancashire, U.K.) Garlic & Cilantro Flavored Rice, and Fall River Wild Rice's (Fall River Mills, Calif.) 100% Natural Rice. The stand-up pouches with gusseted bases stand upright in the microwave, and the user tears open a notch to vent. The products are shelf-stable.

Another new rice entry is Masterfoods' (Hackettstown, N.J.) Uncle Ben's Flavorful Rice. Parmesan & Butter, Garlic & Butter, Roasted Chicken, Spanish Rice, Chicken & Herb, Lemon & Herb, and Tomato & Herb varieties are available. The company says that each grain is infused with 100% natural flavors, eliminating the need for a seasoning packet. Expect other companies to follow their lead.