Canstar Blue’s breakfast cereal review sees 12 brands, including GoldenVale Wheat Biscuits (ALDI), Uncle Tobys (Plus & Vita Brits) and Kellogg’s (Sultana Bran, Nutri-Grain, Special K, Coco Pops & Corn Flakes) rated on taste, consistency, value for money, packaging design 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. With ample options available, you can definitely be choosy with your cereal. For our inaugural breakfast cereal comparison, we asked more than 1,400 adults who’d recently purchased breakfast cereal to review and rate different brands based on factors like taste, consistency, value for money, packaging design and overall satisfaction. The idea? To help you get the best start to the day, of course!
So, which breakfast cereal makes consumers ‘snap, crackle and pop’? GoldenVale Wheat Biscuits (ALDI) was the best-rated, scoring five stars in all research categories – taste, consistency, value for money, packaging design and overall satisfaction. It leads the way from 11 other household breakfast cereal names.
Check out the best breakfast cereal brands in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
GoldenVale Wheat Biscuits (ALDI) cleaned up in our ratings review, scoring a stellar five-star rating across all categories while most brands landed a satisfactory four-star mark, with the exception of Coles Corn Flakes which finished on just three stars across the board.
Aussie favourites Uncle Tobys and Kellogg’s ranked relatively well for taste and consistency with four stars. But it was Uncle Toby’s Vita Brits which stood out, with its performance in the texture/consistency category, placing it as the only brand other than GoldenVale Wheat Biscuits to earn a five-star rating in any category in our 2020 breakfast cereal review.
GoldenVale Wheat Biscuits is one of ALDI’s long list of exclusive brands. Most of their breakfast cereal range is made in Australia from locally sourced and imported ingredients. Here are just some of the options from the GoldenVale range:
GoldenVale cereals typically cost about $3.50 from ALDI stores.
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 whole grain flakes and no artificial colours. Uncle Tobys Plus comes in seven varieties, including:
A box of Uncle Tobys cereals can cost anywhere between $5 and $7.50 depending on retailers.
Another assortment of Uncle Tobys’ extensive range, Uncle Tobys Vita Brits is marketed as the ‘classic, all-natural way’ to start your day. Uncle Tobys Vita Brits are said to be high in fibre and low in fat, with 99% wholegrain wheat and no added sugar.
Sanitarium is one of Australia’s most famous food companies and the brand behind the breakfast cereal with the malty flavour we all love – Weet-Bix. Packed full of whole grain wheats, the Weet-Bix range features a variety of healthy cereal blends, including:
The price point for Weet-Bix products is between $3.50 and $4 from selected stores.
Kellogg’s has been a household name in Australia for the better part of a century and best known for bringing the first corn flakes to our breaky bowl. Kellogg’s boasts a large product range of breakfast cereals with dozens of flavours available. This includes various protein, high-fibre, whole grains, vegan and even FODMAP-friendly options. Kellogg’s Sultana Bran is made with wheat bran flakes and sultanas and comes in three blends, including:
A box of Kellogg’s goodness can set you back about $6 at the checkout.
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain is marketed as one of the highest-protein cereals and the perfect breakfast for champions. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain product range includes spin-off bar, trail mix and oatmeal options. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain breakfast cereal comes in one original malty flavour.
Apparently created with women’s wellness in mind, Kellogg’s Special K is a unique blend of rice, whole wheat and oats containing different proteins, fibres, as well as essential vitamins and minerals to support women’s health. Kellogg’s Special K comes in a variety of flavours, including.
A box of Kellogg’s Special K can cost $7 or more.
Kellogg’s Coco Pops is a breakfast favourite among generations of Aussies kids. That nostalgic chocolate milkshake flavour and crunchy taste is just hard to forget, even as we grow up. Kellogg’s Coco Pops tasty chocolatey breakfast cereal comes in three different blends, including:
A box of Kellogg’s Coco Pops can set you back about $7.50 at the checkout.
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes is the original Kellogg’s breakfast cereal made with crisp, FODMAP-friendly flakes of sun-ripened corn. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes product range includes the following blends:
A box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes can cost between $3.50 and $4.50.
Kellogg’s Just Right is said to contain ‘just the right amount’ of flake crunch and fruity flavours. It’s marketed as the perfect blend of wholesome grains, sultanas and apricot pieces – providing the right balance of fibre, whole grains and essential vitamins for a nutritious breakfast. Kellogg’s Just Right comes in one wholesome original flavour.
Nestle Milo cereal is described as a wholesome blend of whole grain wheat and corn, that’s loaded with essential vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium and vitamin D, with a dash of delicious Milo taste! The Milo cereal from Nestle comes in three flavours, including:
A family pack box of Nestle Milo costs about $7.50.
Coles Corn Flakes is a generic brand sold exclusively in Coles stores. The supermarket cereal is said to be a good source of folate and iron minerals and vitamin B, and is free from artificial flavours or colours.
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 breaky.
If you want to make cereal the healthy centrepiece in your morning routine, start by looking for whole grain 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.
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.
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 Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging 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-haeme, 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 whole wheat 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 3,083 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 month – in this case, 1,409 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.