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Breakfast drinks: not just for breakfast?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016.

It’s widely considered the most important meal of the day, yet 23% of Australians 14+ (4.5 million people) say they ‘seldom have time for breakfast’, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show. Enter time-saving breakfast drinks such as Up & Go and Nutri-Grain Breakfast Fuel to provide these busy people with the nutrients they need to kick-start their day…well, in theory, at least. In reality, only 10% of Aussies who ‘seldom have time for breakfast’ consume breakfast drinks in an average week.

The fact of the matter is, even people with little time for breakfast are considerably more likely to eat cereal or porridge than consume a breakfast drink.

What we have for breakfast: population average vs ‘I seldom have time for breakfast’


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016.

In any given week, cereals such as corn flakes and muesli (ie. non-biscuit varieties) are the most widely consumed breakfast choice among both the general population (33%) and among those people who say they seldom have time to eat breakfast (24%).

Biscuit cereal such as Weetbix is in second place, consumed by 24% of Aussies overall and 19% of those who are pressed for time to have breakfast; ahead of porridge (21% vs 13%). While one in every 10 people who don’t have time for breakfast consume breakfast drinks (making them more likely to than the average Aussie to do so), this still leaves nine out of 10 who don’t drink them.

Not just for breakfast

Yet although breakfast drink brands have not made huge inroads with Aussies who rarely have time for breakfast, an interesting corollary emerges when we break down breakfast-drink consumers.

Of the total Australians who consume breakfast drinks in an average week, only 38% claim to seldom have time for breakfast. Which raises the question: are so-called breakfast drinks being consumed as ‘non-breakfast’ beverages too?

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Although 23% of the population say they seldom have time for breakfast, Roy Morgan data shows that this doesn’t necessarily mean they never eat it. More than 40% still manage to squeeze in some kind of cereal in an average week and 21% eat porridge – a much greater proportion than those who opt for liquid breakfasts like Up & Go.

“But even though these drinks tend to be marketed as a healthy breakfast substitute for people on the go, the majority of people consuming them do have time for breakfast. And given the overwhelming popularity of cereal and porridge, it’s fair to conclude that many people are consuming breakfast drinks for ‘non-breakfast’ purposes -- as they would, say, a protein drink or an energy drink.

“And in fact, while people who consume breakfast drinks are markedly more likely than the average Australian to report that ‘I seldom have time to have breakfast’, they’re even more likely to agree that ‘I sometimes buy drinks that boost my energy’. They also show an elevated tendency to ‘look for drinks with added ingredients that are good for my body’.

“Up & Go (which accounts for over 80% of the breakfast-drink market) is promoted as being high in fibre and calcium, as well as containing protein and 10 essential vitamins and minerals. With credentials like that, it would certainly be on the radar of people who like a nutritious boost to their beverages.

“Breakfast-drink brands looking to reach this non-breakfast market would benefit from the deep demographic, attitudinal and behavioural data contained within Roy Morgan Single Source, allowing them to pinpoint the most receptive consumers and tailor their marketing accordingly.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%