Breakfast cereals are a healthy choice for breakfast. To give the consumer the full freedom of choice, the breakfast cereal and oat milling industry provides more than 200 varieties of breakfast cereals corresponding to different tastes, forms and textures. Different tastes and a real diversity of nutritional compositions allow individuals at any age to find the cereals that adapt best to their needs: stretching from traditional breakfast cereals - served simply, with fruits or with chocolate - to oat flakes and the different types of mueslis. You can also choose between cereals fortified with vitamins and minerals or even functional cereals that respond to the increasing demand for nutritionally beneficial and innovative wellness products.

In combination with appropriate nutritional information and educational programmes, breakfast cereals can play an important role in improving the diets and the nutritional status of Europeans. Research confirms that breakfast cereal consumers have a more substantial and varied breakfast, and a more likely to meet nutritional requirements from nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibre than non-consumers (Cho, S. et al. 2003, Gibson, S.A., O´Sullivan, K.R. 1995, Gibson, S.A. 1999, Gregory, J., et al. 2000, Preziosi, P., et al. 1999, Williams PG. 2014).

Cereals are food that children and adults enjoy (National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2000), and breakfast is an excellent occasion to eat together with the family (Cho, S. et al. 2003, Gibson, S.A., O´Sullivan, K.R. 1995, Preziosi, P., et al. 1999). Children who eat with their parents in the morning tend to have more nutritious breakfasts, which helps to develop good nutrition habits that will last a lifetime.

Breakfast cereals are a healthy choice for breakfast as they are:

Typically low in fat
Breakfast cereals are typically low in fat. Any fat in the cereal is derived naturally from the grain and therefore mainly unsaturated. Fat intake can be further reduced by the type of milk which is used with the breakfast cereal.

A good source of fibre and wholegrain
Many breakfast cereals contain wholegrain and are a good source of fibre both soluble (which lowers cholesterol) and insoluble (which is essential for a healthy digestive system). Wholegrain is important in helping to protect against certain types of cancer and heart disease, as well as providing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Studies show that men and women who eat wholegrain cereals between two and six times a week have a 22% lower chance of heart failure, and those who eat them up to once a week have a 14% lower chance (Allender, S., et al. 2008). Fibre adds bulk to the diet without calories and therefore is excellent for satiety and maintaining a healthy weight. Data show that breakfast cereals can provide 10% of young people´s fibre intake (Gibson, S.A. 1999).

A major contributor of vitamins and minerals to the diet
Some cereals, such as oats, are naturally high in essential B-vitamins. Many breakfast cereals are also fortified with other essential vitamins and minerals (such as iron). Fortification of breakfast cereals is based on the nutritionist recommendations that breakfast should provide 20-25% of daily nutritional requirements. By encouraging milk consumption, breakfast cereals are an excellent way of ensuring adequate calcium intakes in both children and adults (Nicklas, T.A. et al. 1998). Some cereals are fortified with calcium, which is another way of improving dietary calcium intake.

Lower in sugar than other breakfast alternatives
A proportionate sugar intake helps to boost energy in the morning as well as adding flavour, aroma and texture to foods. At the same time, it is important not to consume sugar in excessive amounts. A big variety of breakfast cereals exist, to cater for individual needs. Breakfast cereals on average contribute only to a small proportion of sugar in the diet – about 5% of the average adult daily intake of added sugars.

A small contributor to salt intake
Breakfast cereal manufacturers have been working hard for many years to reduce the amounts of salt used in the manufacturing process. Most breakfast cereals today contain small amounts of salt per portion and contribute less than 5% of the average daily intake of salt.

Nutrient but not energy dense
Breakfast cereals are ‘nutrient dense’ foods - while supplying only a modest amount of energy (calories) they make a significant contribution to intakes in essential nutrients.

Quick and easy
It only takes a minute to pour some milk over a bowl of cereal!