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Breakfast Cereals

The Importance Of Breakfast
Despite the healthful benefits, breakfast may be the meal that is most often neglected or skipped. Eating breakfast not only aids in weight management, it fuels the body to help provide energy, better concentration and problem-solving ability throughout the day, according to the food and nutrition experts all over the world. A number of studies suggest that children who skip breakfast tend to be fatter than those who don’t. And there’s some evidence that eating breakfast improves kids’ learning ability.

Consumers are spending less and less time on breakfast, often opting to miss it altogether to eat on the move or at their desks when they arrive at work. This, coupled with the rise of single households where consumers are less likely to spend time preparing meals just for themselves, means that convenience and snacking items are becoming increasingly important for the breakfast period, and the trend has led to strong growth in breakfast cereals across markets all over the world.

Nutrients of particular importance to improved performance have been identified as carbohydrates, protein, iron and calcium. Eating breakfast cereals, which are high in carbohydrates and provide a good source of protein, iron and calcium (particularly when consumed with milk), is therefore a great way to provide the body with the nutrients it needs to start the day.

Why have Cereals for Breakfast?
The following nutritional details or health benefits relating to breakfast cereals will demonstrates the important role they play in a healthy, balanced diet:-

  • Fibre
    Dietary fibre helps maintain a healthy digestive tract and may help protect against cancer of the colon, reduce the risk of becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. Cereal fibre has important water retaining properties that help prevent constipation and keep the large intestines healthy. It also helps to promote the feeling of fullness after a meal and may therefore help reduce cravings for snack foods and aid weight control. The fibre from cereals containing oats also helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Breakfast cereals play an important role in providing dietary fibre and the richest sources are bran, wholegrain and oat-based cereals.

  • Essential Vitamins & Minerals
    Unlike most other foods eaten at breakfast, the majority of breakfast cereals are fortified with a range of vitamins and essential minerals. One bowl of cereal provides at least 25% of daily requirements for many essential vitamins and 17% for iron.

  • Carbohydrates
    Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet because they provide fuel for the body and many foods rich in whole-grain carbohydrates are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Eating breakfast cereal, which is low in fat and high in carbohydrate, promotes the feeling of being full for longer so reducing mid-morning cravings for fatty snacks.

  • Salt
    Salt is an important component of breakfast cereals. It is used to enhance flavour, and improve texture. Breakfast cereals on average contribute a very small proportion of salt in the diet - on average they contain only 0.33g of sodium per 100g, which equates to less than 5% of the average adult daily intake.

  • Sugar
    The sugar content of breakfast cereals varies widely, with some containing none or very little added sugar. On average, breakfast cereals provide only a small proportion (5%) of the average adult daily intake of added sugars in the diet. This compares with 37% from drinks, 32% from sugar, preserves and confectionery and 14% from other cereal products such as bread, biscuits and cakes.

  • Fat
    Most breakfast cereals are low in fat, on average containing between 2-4% fat. As a rule a cereal breakfast will provide fewer calories than a cooked breakfast and this contributes towards helping maintain a healthy weight. It is also the type of fat consumed that is of importance. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce the risk of heart disease and the fats found in the vast majority of breakfast cereals are naturally high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Breakfast cereals containing nuts (e.g. muesli) have a higher fat content but this is mainly provided by the healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The consumption of breakfast cereals with semi-skimmed or skimmed milk is helpful in achieving the goal of a diet low in saturated fatty acid and trans fatty acids


Breakfast Cereals is a packaged and processed food product such as oats, barley, etc. which are meant to be consumed as part of a breakfast. Cereals comprise of crops which are mostly grasses cultivated for their edible grains or fruit seeds (i.e., botanically a type of fruit called a caryopsis). They are rich source of carbohydrate. Cereals are also a significant source of protein, though the amino acid balance with exceptions is not optimal.

Common cereals are: wheat, rice, rye, oats, barley, corn (maize), and sorghum. Many cereals are trademarked brands of large companies such as Kellogg's, General Mills, Malt-O-Meal, Nestlé, The Quaker Oats Company, and Post Cereals, but similar equivalent products are also locally manufactured.


According recorded historical evidence of trade and commerce the modern cereal foods are apparently the creations of the American Seventh-day Adventists. The Adventists formed the Western Health Reform Institute in the 1860s. The Institute was later renamed the Battle Creek Sanitarium after its location in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Adventists manufactured, promoted, and sold wholesome cereals.

Will Keith Kellogg, the founder of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is credited with the genesis. He had received his M.D. from Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York City, in 1875. He was a Seventh-day Adventist. Kellogg in an effort to improve the diet of hospital patients, developed cereals for breakfast consumption purpose. He was searching for a digestible bread substitute using the process of boiling wheat. Kellogg accidentally left a pot of boiled wheat to stand and the wheat became tempered (soften). When Kellogg rolled the tempered or softened wheat and let it dry, each grain of wheat emerged as a large thin flake. The flakes turned out to be a tasty cereal. Kellogg had invented corn flakes. Will Keith Kellogg founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906. Rice Krispies were introduced by Kellogg in 1929.


In volume terms, consumption of breakfast cereals appears to have accelerated during the 2000s. Certainly, consumption of oats, muesli and high-fibre cereals has expanded dramatically. Health is undoubtedly the key factor driving this expansion. Central to its success has been the enduring popularity of these products with children. Indeed around eight in ten children eat cereal for breakfast on a regular basis, making it an offering that is found in a large majority of households.

Portability and dining 'on-the-go' are the prevalent consumer demands/trends which have made space for cereals as an alternative from the traditional breakfast experience and the demand continues to increase. Two main segments make up the breakfast cereal market—hot and cold cereals.

Cold cereal is served dry, as snacks, or with cold milk, such as Corn Flakes, Shredded Wheat, or Cheerios. Cold cereal can be further separated into low, medium, and high-sugar segments. These three segments also mostly adhere to positioning of brands aimed at adults (low sugar), kids (high sugar), and a combination of both groups (medium sugar).

Hot cereal products are defined as cereal that must be cooked (on the stovetop or in the microwave oven) before eating, including such products as oatmeal, instant oatmeal, hot wheat, and other grain products.

Fluctuations will be evident as changes in consumer lifestyles, especially in terms of convenience, portability and health/diet trends, will continue to impact sales. Products that feature added health benefits and strong nutritional profiles will be well received. Overall, sales will likely be traded from one segment to another as shifts in consumer preferences arise. Therefore, its is of paramount importance that cereal manufacturers and distributors monitor and react to changing consumer lifestyles and eating habits.


However in the near future, the prospects for the breakfast cereals market appear very strong owing to the following reasons:-

  • Breakfast cereals have a healthy image
  • Breakfast cereals are convenient to use
  • Breakfast cereals are already a well-established item in most people's kitchens.

As such, they should continue to be beneficiaries of the two major trends influencing food and drinks markets around the world — namely demand for healthy and convenient products. Furthermore, manufacturers are helping to drive sales by lowering sugar and salt content, and reinforcing the positive image of the market with fortified and premium products.

In Indian context growth has been boosted as consumers here become more interested in alternatives to the traditional sabzi-pratha, idli and other such food items consumed at breakfast.

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