Kellogg does not promote or engage in any online or platform-based money investment schemes, gaming app or platform-based recruitment. Click here to learn more.
Health & Nutrition

Breakfast Consumption Patterns in India

Breakfast literally means “breaking the fast”. For some people, especially younger children, the overnight fast can last for over 12 hours, at times.

Research refers to breakfast as “the most important meal of the day”.1,2  Still, the phenomenon of breakfast skipping is widely prevalent as documented by several studies conducted across the globe.2,3,4,5

  • Well Balanced Breakfast

Breakfast consumption: The Indian Scenario

‘India Breakfast Habits Study’

A study supported by Kellogg India revealed some startling insights into breakfast eating habits of urban Indians. Skipping of breakfast and having nutritionally inadequate breakfast was reported to be the most common phenomenon across four cities – Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore.

Every ‘1 in 4 urban Indian’ claim to skip breakfast and skipping of breakfast meal was seen across all age groups studied (Figure 1 & 2)5 and about 72% skimp by having a nutritionally inadequate breakfast meal (Figure 3A). Further the importance of consuming a well-balanced breakfast was largely undermined as only 3% regarded breakfast as essential.

Bar graph showing percent of people skipping breakfast among different age group

The nutritional adequacy of the breakfast meal vis-à-vis the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for energy and other nutrients was also evaluated in the same study. The findings reported suboptimal intakes of fibre and certain vitamins and minerals. Also intake of only calcium was found to be high (30% of daily RDA) possibly due to consumption of milk at breakfast (Figure 3B).5

Bar graph showing data on daily intake of nutrients benchmarked against percent RDA

Figure 4 illustrates breakfast inadequacies of nutrients like iron, fibre and certain B complex vitamins were not being compensated by the day’s intake of food through other meals across all age groups studied. Also intake of nutrients at breakfast plus midmorning meal was unable to meet 25% of the RDA for all nutrients, thereby highlighting the utmost importance of the first meal of the day.5


Breakfast skipping was observed to a large extent in Mumbai followed by Delhi and Kolkata. The phenomenon of having an inadequate breakfast was also widespread across the 4 metro cities. Around 79%, 76%, 75% and 60% of the study participants in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai respectively were found to have an inadequate breakfast (Figure 5).5

Comparison of different breakfast consumption patterns among 4 major Indian cities

A well-balanced breakfast provides the nutritional foundation for a productive and healthy day, at any age. First thing in the morning, the body is low on energy reserves and needs fuel, hence breakfast calories become very essential to kick start the day. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), for example, offers school breakfast programs providing specific caloric ranges for each age/grade group.6 Studies have shown that key nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals, missed at breakfast are not being compensated for through other meals of the day.1,2

Hence missing breakfast can impact general health, both in the short and long term.

1 Gibney M.J.etal (2018) Breakfast in Human Nutrition: The International Breakfast Research Initiative. Nutrients. May;10(5):559.

2 Wang M. etal (2016) Breakfast Consumption and Its Associations with Health-Related Behaviors among School-Aged Adolescents: A Cross-Sectional Study in Zhejiang Province, China. Int J Environ Res Public Health. Aug;13(8):761.

3 Barr S.I. etal (2014) Breakfast consumption is positively associated with nutrient adequacy in Canadian children and adolescents. Br J Nutr. 2014 Oct28;112(8):1373-1383.

4 Sivaramakrishnan M, Kamath V. (2012) A typical working-day breakfast among children, adolescents and adults belonging to the middle and upper socio-economic classes in Mumbai, India – challenges and implications for dietary change. Public health Nutr. Volume 15(11)pp.2040-2046

5 Sivaramakrishnan M., Kamath V. Nutritional adequacy of breakfast: its relation to daily nutrient intake and health among children, adolescents and adults. Conducted by Research center, College of Home Science, Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai (unpublished data).

6 USDA Federal Register/Vol. 77, No. 17/Thursday, January 26, 2012/Rules and Regulations.

Related Articles

Keeping you up-to-date on all things health and nutrition

Benefits of Breakfast

Benefits of Breakfast

Breakfast matters. It really matters – you’re literally breaking a fast. For eight hours, your body has had no food. Nothing to fuel it. Think it’s okay to skip it? Think again.

Balanced Breakfast

What is a Balanced Breakfast

Benefits of breakfast and the concept of a balanced breakfast.

Benefits of Cereal

Benefits of Cereal

Cereal is nutritious, convenient and tastes great. Why is it a popular breakfast choice across the world?