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Breakfast cereal reviews

Which cereals make the nutritional grade?
 
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01.Introduction

breakfast-cereal-lead

We review 195 ready-to-eat cereals and compare fibre, sugars and sodium.

Breakfast cereals are big business. Last year we spent $1.17 billion on ready-to-eat cereal, and munched our way through 169,470 tonnes of it - that’s about 10 large (750g) boxes for every man, woman and child. But how do these products stack up nutritionally? 

See Cereals reviewed, and How we test to find out more, and for more information about groceries, see Food and health.

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Why is breakfast important?

Starting your day with breakfast provides many advantages. A number of studies suggest that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight or obese than those who skip it. Eating breakfast can also help children with concentration and performance at school. 

Our body's preferred source of fuel is carbohydrates, so to kickstart your day a cereal - being grain based and therefore naturally high in carbohydrates - is generally a good option. And a cereal high in fibre is a real bonus. Adults need about 25-30g fibre a day, and most of us don’t eat enough. And it’s not just adults - a recent Australian study found that only 18% of pre-schoolers were getting an adequate intake of fibre.

You should be able to rely on a breakfast cereal to deliver a decent whack of your daily fibre needs so we believe fibre content is a priority when choosing a healthy cereal. What you don’t want in a breakfast cereal is lots of salt, sugar or saturated fat (see our Healthy Cereal Checklist).

Salt shakedown

In March 2010, Cereal Partners Worldwide (Nestle), Kellogg’s, Sanitarium, Aldi, Coles and Woolworths, as members of the federal government’s Food and Health Dialogue, committed to reduce the sodium content of breakfast cereals that exceed 400mg per 100g by 15% over four years, and we’ve already seen some positive action as a result. Corn Flakes and Rice Bubbles were the latest in a line of Kellogg’s cereals to have their sodium content reduced, both by 20%. Sanitarium reduced the sodium content of its Skippy Corn Flakes by 25%. And Aldi’s GoldenVale Breakfast Bubbles, the saltiest cereal in our previous review, recently had a 30% reduction in its sodium content. Yet despite these reductions, all four cereals remain amongst the saltiest on test.

Such changes are a step in the right direction – and we welcome the sodium reductions across the breakfast cereal category as a whole that have occurred in recent years - but there’s still room for improvement.

Kids' cereals disappoint

  • Fibre Children don’t need as much fibre as adults, but a cereal with a moderate amount of fibre is still better for them than one with little or none. Of the 41 cereals aimed at kids (select the 'Kids' category filter in the table), 17 have at least 5% (moderate) fibre. But more than half are low in fibre – most of these providing less than a gram of fibre in a serve. Since 9-13-year-olds need between 20 and 24g fibre a day, these cereals barely make a dent.
  • Sugar By contrast it seems there’s no shortage of sugar when it comes to kids’ cereal. Nine of the 10 most sugary cereals in our review are products aimed at kids, and 30 of the kids’ cereals we looked at are high in sugars (containing 15g or more sugars per 100g). Aldi’s GoldenVale-branded Honey Wheats, Choco Rice and Choco Pillows and Kellogg’s Frosties pack the biggest sugar punch, all with more than 40g sugars per 100g – that’s more than 3 teaspoons of sugar in a 30g serving.
  • Salt What’s perhaps more surprising is that four of the eight saltiest cereals (containing at least 600mg sodium per 100g) are ones marketed to children. A single 30g serving of Coles Rice Puffs or Woolworths Homebrand Rice Pops would provide about a quarter of the daily sodium requirements of a 9-13-year-old.

Sugar and salt do play a vital role in the tastiness of a product, but many cereals targeted specifically at kids have more in common with treat foods than a nutritious breakfast.

What about porridge and muesli?

  • It’s hard to go past porridge for a good family breakfast  – a cup of cooked rolled oats gives you about 4g of fibre  , and the only sugar and salt is what you add. But aside from the handful of flavoured and sweetened varieties on the market, porridge is porridge so it’s not included in this review. 
  • Muesli isn’t included as it’s a product category unto itself – we assessed 159 mueslis in our last review.

Cereals reviewed

  • Abundant Earth Organic Puffed Kamut (C)
  • Abundant Earth Puffed Corn
  • Abundant Earth Puffed Millet
  • Abundant Earth Puffed Rice
  • Back to Nature Cookie Bitez
  • Back to Nature Farmers Choice Apple, Cranberry & Cinnamon (B) (D)
  • Back to Nature Heart Harmony (A)
  • Back to Nature Hi-Lo Active (A)
  • Back to Nature Waffle Bitez (A)
  • Basco Apricot & Apple (D)
  • Basco Honey Rings
  • Be Natural 5 Whole Grain Flakes
  • Be Natural Cashew, Almond, Hazelnut & Coconut
  • Be Natural Manuka Honey Spice Clusters and Flakes
  • Be Natural Pink Lady Apple & Flame Raisin (D)
  • Black & Gold Cocoa Orbits
  • Black & Gold Corn Flakes
  • Black & Gold Fruity Rings
  • Black & Gold Wheat Biscuits
  • Coles Bran Flakes with Sultanas (D)
  • Coles Cocoa Puffs (C)
  • Coles Corn Flakes (C)
  • Coles Honey Crunch with Almonds
  • Coles Mighty Grain
  • Coles Rice Puffs (C)
  • Coles Right Start Fruit & Fibre (D)
  • Coles Right Start Traditional (D)
  • Coles Smart Buy Wheat Biscuits
  • Coles Special Flakes
  • Coles Whole Wheat Biscuits
  • Dick Smith Bush Foods Breakfast (D)
  • Ecor Cocoa Corn Flakes
  • Ecor Millet Rings
  • Ecor Organic Cornflakes
  • EnviroKidz Organic Gorilla Munch
  • EnviroKidz Organic Koala Crisp
  • Food For Health The Fruit Free Clusters with Chia
  • Freedom Foods Ancient Grain Flakes
  • Freedom Foods Berry Good Morning (D)
  • Freedom Foods Blushing Banana Berry Crunch (D)
  • Freedom Foods Cocoa Puffs
  • Freedom Foods Corn Flakes
  • Freedom Foods FreeOats Crunchola Apple & Blueberry (D)
  • Freedom Foods FreeOats Crunchola Apple & Cinnamon (D)
  • Freedom Foods FreeOats Crunchola Berry & Vanilla (D)
  • Freedom Foods Maple Crunch
  • Freedom Foods Rice Flakes
  • Freedom Foods Rice Puffs
  • Freedom Foods Tropico's
  • Freelicious Corn Flakes
  • Freelicious Fibre Up Flakes
  • Freelicious Grainful Flakes
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Bran & Sultanas (D)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Breakfast Bubbles (C)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Choco Balls (C)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Choco Chips
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Choco Pillows (C)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Choco Rice (C)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Corn Flakes (C)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Fruity Flakes Cereal Fruit & Fibre (D)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Fruity Flakes Cereal Tropical Fruits (D)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Fruity Flakes Cereal Wild Berry (D)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Healthy Start Fruit & Nut (B) (D)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Healthy Start Summer Burst (B) (D)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Honey Nut Cornflakes (C)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Honey Wheats (C)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Just Bran
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Power Grain (C)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Special Flakes Forest Berries (C) (D)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Special Flakes Natural (C)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Special Flakes Red Berries (C) (D)
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Wheat Biscuits
  • GoldenVale (Aldi) Wholegrain Hoops (A)
  • Good Morning Cereals Brown Rice Puffs (C)
  • Good Morning Cereals Buckwheat Puffs (C)
  • Good Morning Cereals Millet Puffs (C)
  • Good Morning Cereals Multi Puffs
  • Good Morning Cereals Spelt Puffs
  • Goodness Superfoods Digestive 1st (D)
  • Goodness Superfoods Heart 1st (D)
  • Goodness Superfoods Protein 1st
  • Healtheries Ooby Doos (A)
  • Healtheries Pufferbillies (A)
  • IGA Signature Corn Flakes
  • IGA Signature Wheat Flakes
  • Kapai Puku Original Blend
  • Kellogg's All-Bran Apple Crunch (D)
  • Kellogg's All-Bran Honey Almond
  • Kellogg's All-Bran Original
  • Kellogg's All-Bran Wheat Flakes
  • Kellogg's Coco Pops
  • Kellogg's Coco Pops Chex
  • Kellogg's Corn Flakes
  • Kellogg's Crispix (B)
  • Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Clusters
  • Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes
  • Kellogg's Froot Loops
  • Kellogg's Frosties
  • Kellogg's Guardian
  • Kellogg's Just Right Clusters and 5 Grains
  • Kellogg's Just Right Original (D)
  • Kellogg's Mini-Wheats 5 Grain
  • Kellogg's Mini-Wheats Blackcurrant Flavour (B) (D)
  • Kellogg's Mini-Wheats Mixed Berry Flavour (A) (B) (D)
  • Kellogg's Nutri-Grain
  • Kellogg's Rice Bubbles
  • Kellogg's Special K Advantage
  • Kellogg's Special K Forest Berries (D)
  • Kellogg's Special K Fruit & Nut Medley (D)
  • Kellogg's Special K Honey Almond
  • Kellogg's Special K Original
  • Kellogg's Sultana Bran (D)
  • Kellogg's Sultana Bran Buds (D)
  • Kellogg's Sultana Bran Extra (D)
  • Kellogg's Sustain (D)
  • Lowan Cocoa Bombs (C)
  • Macro Wholefoods Market Almond Blueberry Crunch (D)
  • Macro Wholefoods Market Maple Nut Crunch
  • Macro Wholefoods Market Morning Balance (D)
  • Nature's Path Millet Rice
  • Nature's Path Organic Corn Flakes (B)
  • Nature's Path Organic Crispy Rice (B)
  • Nature's Path Organic Heritage Flakes
  • Nature's Path Organic Honey'd Corn Flakes (B)
  • Nature's Path Organic Mesa Sunrise (B)
  • Nature's Path Organic Spelt
  • Nestlé Milo
  • Nestlé Milo Crunchy Bites
  • Nestlé Milo Duo
  • Nestlé Nesquik
  • Norganic Organic Ancient Grains with Amaranth & Millet
  • Norganic Organic Corn Flakes
  • Norganic Organic Corn Flakes with Organic Blueberries (A)
  • Nu-Vit Corn Flakes
  • Nu-Vit Rice Bran
  • Orgran Buckwheat O's
  • Orgran Itsy Bitsy Cocoa O's
  • Orgran Rice O's Wild Berry Flavour
  • Orgran Super Grains Multigrain O's with Quinoa
  • Sanitarium Granola Oat Clusters Field Berries & Barley (D)
  • Sanitarium Granola Oat Clusters Vanilla & Almond
  • Sanitarium Honey Weets
  • Sanitarium Light 'n' Tasty Apricot & Coconut (D)
  • Sanitarium Light 'n' Tasty Berry (D)
  • Sanitarium Light 'n' Tasty Macadamia & Honey
  • Sanitarium Puffed Wheat
  • Sanitarium Skippy Corn Flakes
  • Sanitarium Weet-Bix
  • Sanitarium Weet-Bix Bites Apricot (D)
  • Sanitarium Weet-Bix Bites Cocoa Malt
  • Sanitarium Weet-Bix Bites Crunchy Honey
  • Sanitarium Weet-Bix Bites Golden Crumble
  • Sanitarium Weet-Bix Bites Wild Berry (D)
  • Sanitarium Weet-Bix for Kids
  • Sanitarium Weet-Bix Hi-Bran
  • Sanitarium Weet-Bix Multi-Grain
  • Sanitarium Weet-Bix Organic
  • Uncle Tobys Bran Plus
  • Uncle Tobys Cheerios
  • Uncle Tobys Cheerios Honey & Oats
  • Uncle Tobys Fruity Bites Wildberry (D)
  • Uncle Tobys HealthWise for Heart Wellbeing (D)
  • Uncle Tobys High Fibre Bites Honey
  • Uncle Tobys Nut Feast
  • Uncle Tobys Oat Brits
  • Uncle Tobys Oat Crisp Almond
  • Uncle Tobys Oat Crisp Honey
  • Uncle Tobys Oat Flakes
  • Uncle Tobys Plus Antioxidants (D)
  • Uncle Tobys Plus Essentials for Women
  • Uncle Tobys Plus Fibre (D)
  • Uncle Tobys Plus Muesli Flakes (D)
  • Uncle Tobys Plus Omega 3
  • Uncle Tobys Plus Protein (D)
  • Uncle Tobys Plus Sports (D)
  • Uncle Tobys Shredded Wheat
  • Uncle Tobys Vita Brits
  • Uncle Tobys Vita Brits Weeties
  • Vogel's Golden Baked Cluster Crunch Classic
  • Vogel's Ultra Bran Soy & Linseed
  • Weetabix Whole Wheat Biscuits
  • Weight Watchers Fruit & Fibre Tropical (D)
  • Wholeflakes by Artisse Organic Agave Spelt Flakes
  • Woolworths Homebrand Cocoa Puffs (C)
  • Woolworths Homebrand Corn Flakes (C)
  • Woolworths Homebrand Fruity Rings
  • Woolworths Homebrand Processed Bran
  • Woolworths Homebrand Rice Pops (C)
  • Woolworths Homebrand Wheat Biscuits
  • Woolworths Select Clusters Berry (D)
  • Woolworths Select Clusters Vanilla Almond
  • Woolworths Select Great Start (D)
  • Woolworths Select Great Start Berry (D)
  • Woolworths Select Great Start Bran & Sultana (D)
  • Woolworths Select Light Choice

(A) Discontinued, but may be available in some stores. 

(B) Formulation will change in the next few months. 

(C) The dietary fibre figure is based on testing conducted by an external laboratory as the manufacturer did not provide this information.

(D) Fruit sugar contributes to the sugars total (g/100g)

How we test

Nutrient data is taken from the on-pack nutrition information panel. 

Total Dietary Fibre criteria The cereals are ranked by dietary fibre content, as you should be able to rely on cereal to make a real contribution to your daily fibre needs. 

Very high = at least 20% fibre

High = 10%-19.9% fibre

Moderate = 5%-9.9% fibre

Low = less than 5% fibre

Traffic light criteria are based on the latest nutrition recommendations and dietary guidelines established by government health experts in Australia and internationally. Traffic lights allow you to compare the products at a glance and identify those that contain a little Green light, a moderate amount Orange light or a lot Red light of key nutrients of public concern. 

Saturated fat (g/100g)  Green light≤1.5, Orange light1.6-4.9, Red light≥5

Sugars (g/100g)Green light≤5, Orange light5.1-14.9, Red light≥15

Sodium (mg/100g) Green light≤120, Orange light121-599, Red light≥600. 

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