Gut health focus in the breakfast cereal aisle

Gut health focus in the breakfast cereal aisle

Cereals
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New audit of the breakfast cereal category shows fibre is shedding its traditional image/

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A new audit of the breakfast cereal category shows fibre is shedding its traditional image. Analysis of 441 breakfast cereals shows fibre content is the most popular on-pack claim, highlighting a connection between fibre benefits and the 2018 top health trend – gut health and digestive wellness.

Collecting data from four major supermarkets in metropolitan Sydney, the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) examined ready-to-eat cereals, muesli, granolas and clusters, as well as plain and flavoured hot cereals as part of the audit.

It found 85 per cent of breakfast cereals were considered a fibre source, providing two grams or more per serve.

The audit showed 70 per cent of products mentioned fibre on packaging. While there has been a 19 per cent increase in fibre claims since a 2013 audit of the same category, the emphasis has moved from digestive regularity to digestive wellness.

The audit also found 39 breakfast cereal products specifically linked fibre with gut health, reflecting research findings that indicate different kinds of fibre can provide a range of digestive health benefits.

These health claims made mention of prebiotic fibres, such as resistant starch that feeds beneficial bacteria in the large intestine, which is linked to a range of health benefits, such as reduced inflammation and protection against chronic conditions associated with high cholesterol and bowel cancer.

Less than 20 per cent of Australian adults are thought to be getting enough fibre. Helping to overcome this deficiency, new published research found breakfast cereals were the top source of fibre for higher-fibre eaters.

Swapping to wholegrain or high-fibre breakfast cereal is an effective way to help ensure your start to the day is fibre-rich, with these options also containing more protein and less total sugar and salt than refined and non-wholegrain alternatives.

The GLNC audit highlights the importance of innovation and on-pack product claims in helping consumers make nutrition-informed choices that encourage selection of wholegrain breakfast cereals.

Audit fact sheets on the GLNC website detail the council’s ongoing product audits of on-shelf grain and legume foods.

GRDC Research Code: GOG00009

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