Canstar Blue’s breakfast cereal review compares 13 popular brands, including ALDI GoldenVale, Kellogg’s (Sultana Bran, Froot Loops, Coco Pops, Special K, Just Right & Nutri-Grain), Sanitarium Weet-Bix, Nestlé Milo, and more on taste, texture & consistency, range variety, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Cereal is a staple breakfast food in many Aussie households. Whether you’re cuckoo for cocoa puffs or favour frosted flakes, a bowl of crunchy goodness is a wholesome way to start the day or to whip up as a ‘lazy’ (but delicious) dinner or snack, as do 19% of consumers we surveyed. And, with ample options available on supermarket shelves, you can definitely be choosy with your cereal.
For our latest breakfast cereal comparison, we asked more than 1,500 adults for their feedback on the breakfast cereal(s) they’ve purchased (and consumed) within the last three months. Respondents scored brands on variety, taste, texture and consistency, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction. Brands that received at least 30 responses are rated and compared in our report.
So, which breakfast cereal makes consumers ‘snap, crackle and pop’? Uncle Tobys Plus turned the tables after scoring full marks across most categories, including overall satisfaction!
Here are the best breakfast cereal brands in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Uncle Tobys was rated best in our latest breakfast cereal ratings, receiving the only five-star review for overall satisfaction. It also scored top marks for taste, texture and consistency, and range variety. Former winner ALDI’s GoldenVale still managed to rank number one for value money, while Kellogg’s Sultana Bran and Kellogg’s Froot Loops similarly scored full marks for taste, with its Froot Loops line additionally achieving the same result for packaging design.
Uncle Tobys is one of Australia’s original cereal makers circa 1861, first operating under the brand name Parsons Bros. Uncle Tobys Plus is a spin-off from the brand’s wide range of cereals, containing a blend of wholegrain flakes and no artificial colours. Uncle Tobys Plus comes in several varieties, including:
A box of Uncle Tobys Plus cereals can cost anywhere between $4.75 and $7.50 depending on retailers.
According to the Australian Government Department of Health, the healthiest cereals are made from any of the following:
You can alternatively buy breakfast oats to make a healthy porridge. Keep in mind that toasted muesli can contain high amounts of saturated fats. So, it’s always a good idea to read the nutritional label on the packaging. It’s also recommended that you eat cereal with low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt, and/or fruit.
It’s also important not to fall into the trap of thinking that all cereals are healthy. Yes, many cereal brands have a decent Health Star Rating (HSR) but this often fails to differentiate between added sugars and the sugar that naturally occurs in food. Be sure to look for ‘no added sugar’ or ‘naturally sweetened’ options when you shop.
Our latest survey results show Uncle Tobys Plus is worth buying if you’re shopping for a cereal that offers both taste and variety (which is important if you’ve got fussy eaters at home). ALDI’s GoldenVale range is also good to check out, especially if you’re searching for something affordable. ALDI’s range also dominated our breakfast cereal ratings in 2020 and 2021, so it’s definitely doing something right! Aussies similarly rated Kellogg’s Froot Loops highly for taste, but keep in mind that this childhood classic sits towards the sugary side.
Beyond the colourful packaging designed to catch your eye, separating the best breakfast cereal from the rest isn’t easy. But the upside to having so much variety is that you can be choosy with your brekkie.
If you want to make cereal the healthy centrepiece in your morning routine, start by looking for wholegrain cereal, which is higher in fibre content and typically seen as a healthier option than corn flakes, for example. Scan the ingredients list on the back of your cereal box for whole grains like wheat, oats, barley and rice.
All in all, you’ll want a breakfast cereal that’s healthy and provides the best bang for your buck. You can compare a variety of brands on our website.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Elena Veselova/ Shutterstock.com.
Cereal is made with grains of dried seeds from different types of grasses and can be quite starchy. Some of the most commonly eaten cereal grains include wheat, oats, millet, corn, barley, rice, rye, spelt, teff, triticale, buckwheat, chia, quinoa, and amaranth.
Breakfast cereals are made from processed cereal grains. These can be puffed, flaked, rolled, or milled to turn into all kinds of shapes, often with added flavourings and other extra ingredients. Some breakfast cereals are quite heavily processed and have a lot of additives, while some breakfast cereals are quite simple. Breakfast cereals are usually eaten with milk, yoghurt, or fruit, and can be served hot or cold. So technically, porridge counts as a breakfast cereal just as much as Coco Pops.
A number of health food and ‘natural’ brands have begun introducing breakfast cereals and other food products made from so-called ‘ancient grains’. Ancient grains are considered to be those which have been left relatively unchanged by human intervention such as selective breeding over the last few thousand years. A few examples of these are spelt, millet, barley, teff, oats, bulgur, sorghum, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and chia.
Much of the marketing around these grains claims that they’re healthier than those which have been modified through selective breeding. But there is still no conclusive research confirming this is the case. What we do know is that nutritional value varies depending on grain type rather than heritage.
‘Breakfast cereal’ is such a diverse food category that there are options all over the health spectrum. Cereal can be deceptively unhealthy – many unassuming products are actually packed with hidden sugars or salt. Some ingredients are widely considered to be healthier than they actually are, such as dried fruit, which can be a sneaky source of sugar. If you want something sweet, you’re much better off choosing a plainer, low-sugar cereal and eating it with some fresh fruit.
Many brands of breakfast cereal are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, such as iron and calcium. These can help boost your nutrient intake, but is often still accompanied by quite a lot of sugar and salt.
You can check the ingredients and nutrition table on the cereal box, however, be wary. Brands use their suggested serving sizes to make health claims, but the amount you put in your bowl and the serving size listed on the box can be wildly different. These suggested serving sizes also often make assumptions about the type of and quantity of milk you use with your cereal, which can make it impossible to make an accurate assessment.
The government health star rating system was designed in collaboration with Food Standards Australia New Zealand and other health experts to make it easier for Australians to make at-a-glance assessments of the nutritional profile of packaged foods. These are based on a standardised 100g or 100mL of the product as-is in the packaging, so you can easily compare directly between products and brands regardless of each product’s suggested serving size.
The health star label compares ‘risk nutrients’ – unsaturated fat, sugars, and sodium, as well as energy – and ‘positive nutrients’ which may include fibre, protein, calcium, or particular vitamins and minerals depending on the nutritional content of the product. This cuts through the confusing nature of nutritional labels, and is a much easier nutritional comparison tool.
Lots of people like to add a teaspoon (or two) of sugar on top of their Weet-Bix or cornflakes, but that’s an easy way to turn breakfast from a healthy meal into a sweet treat. If you really can’t do without a bit of sweetness, it’s better to add sugar in the form of a bit of fruit, such as sliced banana.
High Fibre Cereal
Bran, such as Woolworths Select High Fibre Bran, GoldenVale Just Bran (ALDI) and Kellogg’s All-Bran, is that brown tube-shaped stuff that your dad probably eats. It’s incredibly high in fibre as its ingredients are mostly wheat bran. If you’re not a fan, flaked bran can be a more palatable alternative. Watch out for the sugar content, but apart from that it’s one of the healthiest cereals you can choose from. Bran is a great cereal for eating with fresh fruit.
Low Sugar Cereal
It’s an easy way to start the day – grab your favourite tasty cereal, pour it in a bowl and add milk. When you’ve got fussy kids to get going, you may choose to just shove some chocolatey stuff (in packaging that assures you it’s fortified with iron and full of whole grains) in front of the little monsters and hope they don’t chuck it against the wall.
But sugar is the worst offender when it comes to hidden health harms of breakfast cereal. Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut looks healthy enough – it’s basically cornflakes with nuts and honey. It’s actually one of the most sugary cereals you can find, with a whopping 11.1g of sugar per 35g (1/2 cup) serve – that’s nearly a third sugar by weight! For comparison, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended daily sugar intake of 5% of total energy intake, which for the average adult is about 25g per day.
Low Carb Cereal
Eating cereal on a low carb diet can be quite tricky, as most cereals are quite high in carbohydrates. The first thing to note is that, unless your doctor specifically recommends otherwise, carbohydrates aren’t inherently bad. It’s the source of carbohydrates that really matters. There’s a huge difference between carbohydrates from whole grains versus those from loads of sugar.
Long-lasting energy is important to get you through the day without feeling a ‘slump’ between meals and keep you feeling full. Cereals, as starchy foods, are sources of complex carbohydrates, which break down slowly over time to release a consistent energy supply. Sugar, meanwhile, is a simple carbohydrate, which means it all breaks down very quickly, giving you an energy ‘high’, then drops off to leave you feeling lethargic and hungry again, a feeling described as a ‘sugar crash’.
If, for doctor-recommended health reasons, you’re looking to avoid carbs, look for a high protein cereal to replace your regular choice. Some cereals are relatively low in carbohydrates while containing a high proportion of protein, which is also a good source of energy and makes you feel fuller for longer. Chia seeds are one such example. It’s really easy to make a tasty breakfast out of chia seeds – just mix a tablespoon or two of chia seeds with a healthy plant-based milk, leave it in the fridge overnight, and in the morning you’ll have a healthy chia pudding. Add in a bit of fruit, cinnamon, or other healthy ingredients to add more flavour. If you don’t like the texture, chuck it in the blender.
High Iron Cereal
While there is some iron content already in cereal products, as almost all wholegrains naturally contain some iron, it’s quite common for brands to fortify cereal products with extra iron. One of the most common quantities in fortified breakfast cereals is around 3.0mg per serve, as you can see from the below table of examples. Natural rolled oats contain about 1.1mg of iron per 30g serve.
As the type of iron found in cereals is non-heme, it should be consumed with a source of vitamin C to improve iron absorption. This could be a glass of orange juice, or some vitamin C-rich fruit sliced on top of your cereal. On the flip side, breakfast favourites coffee, tea and milk can reduce iron absorption.
Gluten Free Breakfast Cereals
As awareness of coeliac disease rises, more and more brands are offering gluten-free alternatives that don’t taste like dust. In addition, brands that specialise in gluten-free and other dietary requirements are on the rise. Here’s a list of some of the gluten free cereals you can find on supermarket shelves, in the breakfast or health food aisles.
Carman’s Fine Foods
Orgran (gluten-free brand; also wheat, egg, dairy, yeast, and nut free, and vegan)
Has No (ALDI)
Cereal is a quick and easy breakfast, but can start your day off on an unhealthy foot if you’re not careful. It can be healthier to sub out your cereal favourite for wholewheat toast and a piece of fruit, or a bowl of hot oats with a dash of cinnamon. If you really just don’t have time, cereal does win out on the convenience factor.
It can be hard giving up that sugar fix from your Crunchy Nut or Coco Pops – but you don’t have to. Sugary cereal can be okay as an occasional treat, even for dessert! For a healthy lifestyle, balance is everything.
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and eaten a breakfast cereal in the last three months – in this case, 1,539 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Uncle Tobys Plus ranked best in several categories:
Here are the previous winners of Canstar Blue’s breakfast cereal ratings:
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