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The power of porridge

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2010–March 2011 (n=18,263) and April 2014–March 2015 (n=15,913). Thumbnail image: copyright Denna Jones (Flickr Creative Commons)

We’ve all heard health and diet experts singing the praises of porridge: from its energy-boosting qualities to its ability to lower cholesterol levels, the humble oat is widely considered to be an extremely nutritious breakfast option. Yet porridge is eaten by substantially fewer Australians than biscuit-style breakfast cereals like Weetbix and other cereals such as muesli and cornflakes, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal.

In an average seven days, 4.1 million Aussies aged 14+ (or 21% of the population) eat porridge; 4.9 million (or 25%) eat biscuit cereal; and 6.3 million (or 32%) eat other cereal.

However, porridge is the only one of these three types of breakfast cereal to have gained popularity in recent years, being eaten by 500,000 more Australians in any seven-day period now than it was in March 2011. In contrast, 400,000 fewer people are eating biscuit cereal than they were in 2011; over the same period, the number of people eating other cereals has plummeted by 800,000.

Breakfast cereals eaten by Australians in an average seven days: 2011 vs 2015


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2010–March 2011 (n=18,263) and April 2014–March 2015 (n=15,913).

Women comprise the majority (60%) of porridge eaters; while people at the more mature end of the age spectrum are far more likely than younger Australians to eat it. For example, 29% of Aussies aged 65+ eat porridge, well over double the proportion of 14-17 year-olds (12%) who eat it.

Healthy is as healthy eats

People who eat porridge do appear to have a special interest in their health and diet. Compared to the average Australian, porridge eaters are:

  • 20% more likely to agree with the statement, ‘I restrict how much I eat of fattening foods’
  • 19% more likely to ‘prefer to eat healthy snacks’
  • 18% more likely to ‘buy additive-free food’
  • 18% more likely to agree that ‘a low-fat diet is a way of life for me’
  • 13% more likely to agree that ‘I try to buy organic food whenever I can’

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“With more than 4.4 million Australians saying they ‘seldom have time to eat breakfast’, and a gradually growing number drinking beverages such as Up & Go as a quick and easy breakfast alternative, cereal brands are faced with the challenge not only of standing out in a crowded market, but also ensuring that they reach the right consumers.

“There’s no doubt that media coverage about its nutritious qualities has been good publicity for porridge, and the increasing number of people eating it do tend to be more health-conscious than the average Aussie (although it’s worth noting that a higher proportion of women eat porridge than men, and women also tend to be more concerned about these issues).

“Just as the health benefits of oats have attracted a lot of positive press, the high sugar content in many cereals has also been widely (and not so positively) covered – which may well be one of the drivers behind the declining popularity of biscuit and other cereals.

“Of course, more than half the people who eat porridge in an average seven days eat other kinds of breakfast cereal too; just as many people who eat other kinds of cereal also eat porridge. This poses another yet challenge for cereal marketers: how to strengthen brand loyalty among their consumers?”

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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%