The Breakfast Cereal Information Service

Nutritional Information

Vitamins and Minerals

Breakfast can be a significant source of micronutrients, and dietary surveys continue to highlight fortified breakfast cereals as a key source of vitamins and minerals in the diet. Choosing a fortified breakfast cereal instead of other breakfast choices can result in a significantly higher intake of important micronutrients.

Breakfast cereals are consumed by a large proportion of the UK population with 49% of men, 58% of women and 80% of children being breakfast cereal consumers. Research has shown that those who eat fortified breakfast cereals typically have higher intakes of important micronutrients such as thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and iron, when compared to non-consumers[1] . Calcium intakes are also higher in groups consuming breakfast cereals, with the addition of milk to most cereal breakfasts a contributing factor. Vitamin D status may also be maintained in those consuming fortified breakfast cereals[2], which is an important food source to support new dietary requirements in children and adults[3].

Breakfast cereals provide important vitamins and minerals in the UK Diet, particularly in children, as shown below [4] [5]

Percentage Contribution of Breakfast Cereals

Nutrient Children (4-10y)   Adults (19-64y)   Adults (65yr+)  
Folic Acid 19% 9% 13%
Thiamin (Vit B1)    18% 10% 11%
Riboflavin 17% 10% 14%
Niacin 12% 7% 8%
Vitamin B6 15% 7% 9%
Vitamin D 15% 7% 8%
Iron 24% 11% 17%


Adolescents are a particular group where poor micronutrient status is often reported, so encouraging consumption of fortified breakfast cereals with milk every day can lead to an improvement in micronutrient status[2]. In addition to improved intakes of micronutrients, higher intakes of fibre, protein, milk/yoghurt and fruit intake have also been observed in adolescents who eat fortified breakfast cereals[6]

[1] Holmes B.A. et al. (2012) The contribution of breakfast cereals to the nutritional intake of the materially deprived UK population Eur J Clin Nutr, 66 (1): 10-17

[2] Powers H.J. et al. (2016) Fortified breakfast cereal consumed daily for 12 wk leads to a significant improvement in micronutrient intake and micronutrient status in adolescent girls: a randomised controlled trial. Nutr J, 15(1):69.

[3] Vitamin D and Health (2016) Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition

[4] NatCen Social Research, MRC Human Nutrition Research, University College London. Medical School (2015) NDNS Years 1-4, 2008/09-2011/12 [data collection] 7th edition. UK Data Service.

[5] NatCen Social Research, MRC Human Nutrition Research, University College London. Medical School. (2016). NDNS results from years 5 and 6 combined of the rolling programme for 2012 and 2013 to 2013 and 2014: report. UK Data Service.

[6]Michels N. et al. (2016) Ready-to-eat cereals improve nutrient, milk and fruit intake at breakfast in European adolescents. Eur J Nutr, 55(2):771-9


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