20120414 - Kind and balance of breakfast cereals - 2012

[Data] [<Normal page] [PEREZGONZALEZ Jose D (2012). Kind and balance of breakfast cereals. Journal of Knowledge Advancement & Integration (ISSN 1177-4576), 2012, pages 114-116.]

Kind and balance of breakfast cereals

Some breakfast cereals are marketed as generic brands (eg, store brands) and may be perceived as being less nutritious than those marketed under dedicated commercial brands. Breakfast cereals may also target particular populations, such as children, for reasons other than nutrition or health. Thus, it is of interest to test whether cereals so grouped inform about overall nutritional balance (BNI). This way, a consumer may rely on any significant grouping for choosing more balanced breakfast cereals. This article summarizes research done in this regards (for more detail see Perezgonzalez, 2012b3).

Illustration 1 collates statistical information for both groups of breakfast cereals (either whether they are targeted to children or not, and whether they are generic brands or not): group medians, tests for equality of independent rank distributions (Mann-Whitney U, used to assess group differences), correlations of each claim with the BNI (Spearman's rho), and regression coefficients of each claim on the BNI4.

Illustration 1: Medians, Mann-Whitney U tests, and correlation and regression coefficientes per group
Kind Md 'no' Md 'yes' U rho β R
Children 37.27 72.65 318.0* .229* .229* .229*
Generic 39.51 36.89 497.5 -.009 --- Adj.R
(Dependent variable = BNI. Medians closer to 0.0 indicate greater balance. * p ≤ .05. Sig ≤ .05, 2-tailed)

According to above results, it can be concluded that:

  • Cereals targeted to children have a BNI distribution significantly higher (median = 72.65; U = 318, p ≤ .05) than other cereals (median = 37.27). Simply avoiding breakfast cereals for children could help choose about 23% of more nutritionally balanced products in the sample (rho, R), and about 20% of those cereals in the population (Adj.R).
  • Breakfast cereals sold under generic brands are not significantly different from those sold under dedicated commercial brands.


Research approach

Exploratory study.


A stratified sample of 79 breakfast cereals (ie, oats, wheat, rice, corn, bran and muesli), collected in a convenient manner (see Perezgonzalez, 2012a2).


The main (or dependent) variable was the balanced nutrition classification as assessed using the Balanced Nutrition Index™ (BNI™) technology (see Perezgonzalez, 20111).

Grouping (or independent) variables were breakfast cereals specifically targeted to or for children, and breakfast cereals sold under generic brands.


  • The distribution of the BNI variable was significantly non-normal, some groups were too small in size and not all variables related linearly with the dependent variable. Therefore, a non-parametric approach was used for data analysis4.
  • Main analyses: tests of significance (Fisher's approach) based on sig ≤ .05 or more extreme probabilities, 2-tailed.
  • Main tests: Mann-Whitney U test for equality of ranked distributions of independent groups, Spearman's rho correlations, and multiple correlation on ranked data.
  • All analyses were carried out with SPSS-v18 (PASW Statistics 18).

Generalization potential

Most breakfast products were produced locally or imported and exported from or to Australia, respectively. Thus, the results of this study may be generalizable to the following populations (in order of decreasing generalization power):

  • Australia.
  • Internationally, if one assumes breakfast products to be of approximately similar nutritional composition anywhere.
1. PEREZGONZALEZ Jose D (2011). Balanced Nutrition Index™ (BNI™). Journal of Knowledge Advancement & Integration (ISSN 1177-4576), 2011, pages 20-21. Also retrievable from Wiki of Science.
2. PEREZGONZALEZ Jose D (2012a). Breakfast cereals. The Balanced Nutrition Index (ISSN 1177-8849), 2012, issue 3. (Retrievable from The Balanced Nutrition Index journal.)
3. PEREZGONZALEZ Jose D (2012b). The nutritional balance of kinds of breakfast cereals. Journal of Knowledge Advancement & Integration (ISSN 1177-4576), 2012, pages 108-113. Also retrievable from Wiki of Science.
+++ Footnotes +++
4. Regression analyses were carried out on ranked data.

Want to know more?

BNI™ journal (2012, issue 3) - Breakfast cereals
This issue of the Balanced Nutrition Index™ journal collates all BNI™ nutrition information for the original sample in a single book. You can also access information about each individual breakfast cereal on the BNI™ database and aggregated information on Wiki of Science (nutritional balance of food)
Wiki of Science - Nutrition claims and balance of breakfast cereals
Two Wiki of Science pages provide summary and detailed information about a related research, focused on nutritional and health claims.
Wiki of Science - The nutritional balance of kinds of breakfast cereals
This page provides detailed statistical analyses of the research summarised in this article.


Jose D PEREZGONZALEZ (2012). Massey University, Turitea Campus, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand. (JDPerezgonzalezJDPerezgonzalez).


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