Consumer group CHOICE has lashed out at the makers of 'liquid breakfast' drinks for making a raft of dubious nutritional claims about their products. Despite being regularly marketed as a high-fibre option for energetic people, many brands were found to provide a sugary and unhealthy breakfast comparable to chocolate bars.
In its report, CHOICE investigated 23 liquid breakfast products including popular brands such as Sanitarium’s Up & Go, Devondale's Fast Start, Dairy Farmers' Oats Express and Kellogg’s liquid cereal drinks. All of the brands CHOICE tested fell down in the 'high fibre' stakes, which is often the chief selling point of a liquid breakfast.
"Liquid breakfasts have on average 1.5 per cent fibre, which is well below the 10 per cent benchmark for high fibre,” CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey said. "It is grains away from the 39.5% fibre offered by bran cereals."
Some products were also found to contain high amounts of sugar despite being marketing as a healthy brekkie option. Of the 23 products tested, ten contained more than 23 grams of sugar per serve, which is roughly the same as a chocolate bar.
In addition, the amount of energy was found to be insufficient for a complete breakfast, ranging from 700kj to 912kj (a regular meal is supposed to come in at around 2000kj).
“Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and consumers shouldn’t be fooled into thinking liquid breakfasts are high in fibre or a good source of protein,” Godfrey said.
“A serving of oats with a handful of almonds and a sliced apple will give you about 11g of fibre; in some cases more than triple the amount of fibre available in liquid breakfast cereals.”
The take-home message from this is that advertisers will continue to circumvent consumer protection laws if they think they can get away with it. You should only choose a liquid breakfast product if you're after a fast and convenient snack. For a healthy, high-fibre breakfast you're better off sticking to proper raw cereal.