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The health profile of breakfast cereals in Australia

We take a look at the findings of a new study into the health profile of breakfast cereals.

The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) have published research on breakfast cereals available in Australian supermarkets based on their regular product audits: Back in time for breakfast: an analysis of the changing breakfast cereal aisle, published in Nutrients.

Here are some topline results:

  • There have been substantial nutrition improvements in the breakfast cereal aisle with positive changes in nutrient composition of the whole breakfast cereal category;
  • Only 3% of all cereals met the ABS definition of ‘discretionary’ due to sugar content in 2020, down from 5% in 2013;
  • There was a 10% decrease in sugars and 16% decrease in sodium in like-for-like cereals between 2013 and 2020;
  • Two-thirds of Australian breakfast cereals are now whole grain (>8g per serve), with most providing more than 50% wholegrain;
  • Claims regarding dietary fibre and whole grain doubled since 2013;

These results suggest there are plenty of healthy wholegrain breakfast cereal options to choose from and manufacturers have been working behind the scenes to reduce sugar and salt content.

Nutrition improvements in the breakfast cereal category have occurred in the time frame since the introduction of the GLNC Code of Practice for Whole Grain Ingredient Content Claims launched in 2013, the Health Star Rating (HSR) launched in 2014 and the Healthy Food partnership Reformulation Program launched in 2015, suggesting they have played a role in supporting the improvements.

About the GLNC

GLNC is the independent authority on the nutrition and health benefits of grains and legumes. Visit the GLNC website for recipes, factsheets and the latest evidence around grains and legumes. Connect with GLNC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via @GrainsLegumesNC.


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