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breakfast cereals and the breakfast cereal industy

Industy Responses


June 2011

ACFM Statement on Fortified Breakfast Cereals

Within the Association of Cereal Food Manufacturers (ACFM) membership there are a number of companies who produce a range of breakfast cereals; some of these products are fortified with added vitamins and minerals.

Breakfast cereals are generally nutrient dense (in vitamins and minerals) and lower fat options than other types of breakfast (Nicklas et al. 2002, Nicklas, O'Neil & Berenson 1998, Ruxton et al. 1996). Regular consumption of all breakfast cereals has been shown to have a number of health benefits including a reduced likelihood of being overweight or obese (de la Hunty et al. 2007). Breakfast can also improve concentration, especially cognition and learning in children (Panagiotako et al. 2008)

Within the UK, breakfast cereals are an important source of a number of vitamins and minerals. Many nutritionists recommend breakfast should contribute 20 - 25% of daily nutritional requirements; most breakfast cereals are fortified on this basis. Breakfast cereals play a key role in the UK diet, and contribute a significant proportion of daily requirements for several micronutrients:
  • Fortified breakfast cereals are an important source of iron in the UK diet, providing 20% of mean total iron intake in adults (Henderson et al. 2003), 23% in girls and 29% in boys (Gregory et al. 2000).
  • Fortified breakfast cereals are an excellent source of folic acid, on average contributing 15% of the daily intake amongst adults (Henderson et al. 2003), 20% in girls and 25% in boys (Gregory et al. 2000).
  • Fortified breakfast cereals are an important source of vitamin B12 for vegans and vegetarians.
  • Fortified breakfast cereals are the main dietary source of thiamin (vitamin B1), providing 14% of overall daily intake in UK adults (Henderson et al. 2003), 19% in girls and 24% in boys (Gregory et al. 2000)
  • Fortified breakfast cereals contribute significant amounts of riboflavin and niacin, on average providing 15% and 10% of daily intake respectively in adults (Henderson et al. 2003). Fortified breakfast cereals provide a daily intake of riboflavin on average 19% in girls and 24% in boys. Fortified breakfast cereals provide a daily intake of niacin, contributes on average 14% in girls and 18% in boys (Gregory et al. 2000).
  • In adults, 13% of the average daily intake of vitamin B6 is obtained from fortified breakfast cereals (Henderson et al. 2003); in children breakfast cereal provides an average of 16% in girls and 21% in boys of vitamin B6.
  • Fortified breakfast cereals contribute 13% of the average daily vitamin D intake in men and women (Henderson et al 2003), 20% of the average daily vitamin D intake in girls and 24% in boys (Gregory et al 200). The contribution of breakfast cereals to vitamin D intake may be particularly important during the winter months when vitamin D is not obtained from the sun.

For further information please contact us at: info@breakfastcereal.org

De la Hunty A, Ashwell A. Are people who regularly eat breakfast cereals slimmer than those who don't? A systematic review of the evidence. Nutrition Bulletin 2007;32:, 118-128.
Panagiotakos DB, Antonogeorgos G, Papadimitriou A et al. Breakfast cereal is associated with a lower prevalence of obesity among 10-12-year-old children: the PANACEA study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2008 Nov;18(9):606-12.

Henderson L, Irving K, Gregory J, Bates CJ, Prentice A, Perks J, Swann G, Farron M (2003). The National Diet & Nutrition Survey: adults aged 19 to 64 years. Vitamin and mineral intake and urinary analytes.

Gregory JR, Lowe S, Bates CJ, Prentice A, Jackson LV, Smithers G, Wenlock R, Farron M. National Diet and Nutrition Survey: young people aged 4 to18 years. Volume1: Report of the diet and nutrition survey. London: TSO, 2000.

Nicklas T.A., McQuarrie, A., Fastnaught, C. & O'Neil, C.E. 2002, "Efficiency of breakfast consumption patterns of ninth graders: Nutrient-to-cost comparisons", Journal of the American Dietetic Association, vol. 102, no. 2, pp. 226-233.

Nicklas, T., O'Neil, C. & Berenson, G. 1998, "Nutrient contribution of breakfast, secular trends, and the role of ready-to-eat cereals: a review of data from the Bogalusa Heart Study", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 757S-763.

Ruxton C.H.S., O'Sullivan K.R., Kirk T.R. & Beltons N.R. 1996, "The contribution of breakfast to the diets of a sample of 136 primary-schoolchildren in Edinburgh",British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 75, no.3 pp.419-431.