Rethink breakfast: One small thing you can do to fix food

summer breakfast
Summer breakfast

Decades ago, I stopped shopping for food in the supermarket, only entering for cereal, milk, and tortillas.

When the milk war erupted in 2011, I began buying milk from small dairies. The next year I made heavenly tortillas from scratch.

Which left cereal.

Due to one hundred years of extensive marketing, cereals have an aura of health—yet the truth can be somewhat hairier.

The cereal I bought was a bran one, that, when served with cinnamon yogurt, was edible. Yet I became aware of another bran cereal and became perplexed. One day I spent an inordinate amount of time in the aisle, comparing the labels, to determine which was ‘healthier’.

I figured it was the level of processing that made the difference—then realized the situation was ridiculous—so I put down both boxes, and walked out the doors, to eat real food for breakfast.

What a revelation!

During summer I eat an egg on sourdough toast—or a flatbread made earlier—with spinach, silverbeet or rainbow chard. Tomatoes with basil, on garlic-rubbed bread. Hummus with Mediterranean green beans. Corn or zucchini fritters. In winter, I warm myself up with lentils, chickpeas, vegetable-rich minestrone or something with a farro base. By the time the coffee percolator is bubbling, my breakfast is freshly made, or for something complex, heated up.

The breakfasts I eat now are flavoursome, have more variety, and are packed with goodness. Best of all, they keep me full, with lunch and dinner much smaller. Most items are bought direct from the farmer, and if not, from a local independent store.

I’m not the only one to rethink breakfast. Over the past few years, millions of people around the world are now waking up to real breakfasts, to avoid, in certain brands, the ultra-processing which highly degrades the food, and adds mountains of sugar and salt.

Cereal manufacturers are scrambling because their revenue is declining, profits are down, and share prices are falling. But they are not giving up. They are transforming cereal into snacks, so people can eat, or drink, industrial food on the run. They are developing hundreds of new products each year, and targeting new customer segments. They are acquiring new businesses, for example, Kelloggs bought Pringles, to increase their share of stomach. They are developing new business models, such as snacking as a service. And they are tapping into emerging markets, where people still eat traditional breakfasts, and they will spend billions of dollars, just like they did in the United States, England, and Australia, to erode this.

When you have time, please consider what you eat for breakfast and where you buy it.

No need to be a hero—one small change can help take down the largest multinational food corporation.

Related, elsewhere
The Guardian: Felicity Lawrence, Drop that spoon! The truth about breakfast cereals, 23 November 2010
Gyorgy Scrinis: Nutritionism: The Science and Politics of Dietary Advice
FlavourCrusader: Kellogg’s new junk cereal is munted, 26 January 2013
BBC: The Foods That Make Billions—Cereals


4 Responses to Rethink breakfast: One small thing you can do to fix food

  1. Emma says:

    Great post and I hope Kelloggs is listening.

    It’s easy to make muesli from rolled oats/wheat/etc, plus some seeds, nuts, fruits etc – there’s so many mixes possible. It’s still real food but also recognisably cereal so might work better for people who still like a bowl of stuff with milk for breakfast.

    1. Sharon says:

      Hi Emma,
      Yes you’re right! This post by Katinka has some good ideas. Real food, and twist it to your taste. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Hear hear Sharon. I think people are starting to realise the realities of the cereal aisle. However the marketing machine aimed at children, in this area in particular, is beyond unethical.

    1. Sharon says:

      Hello Jem,
      Yes it it wonderful that people are beginning to realise—things are sinking in.

      And I agree, from product development to branding to promotion—filthy!

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