Introduction to the International Breakfast Research Initiative (IBRI)
Breakfast is often regarded as the most important meal of the day and it has been associated with improved nutrient intakes and diet quality in several population groups. However, there is no consensus on the optimal nutritional composition of a balanced breakfast. The International Breakfast Research Initiative (IBRI) was set up in 2016 by Cereal Partners Worldwide with a team of recognized nutrition experts to advance the evidence base on the nutritional composition of a balanced breakfast. The objective of the IBRI was to propose an approach to develop nutrient criteria for a balanced breakfast and to define these criteria for three distinct regions: Europe & North America, Latin America, and South-East Asia. Evidence based nutrient recommendations for a balanced breakfast can help underpin a variety of public health initiatives and government policies on breakfast provision and education.
The IBRI methodology comprised the harmonized analyses of nationally representative dietary survey data to understand what people in each region actually consume at breakfast with the aim of improving nutritional intakes where needed. For Europe and North America, the countries included in the analysis were Spain, France, Denmark, the UK, the US and Canada. In each country, the following harmonized set of analyses were completed:
- Frequency of breakfast consumption
- Breakfast nutrient intakes and contribution of breakfast to daily nutrient intakes.
- Food group intakes at breakfast in consumers and total population
- Breakfast nutrient intakes according to the tertiles of overall diet quality (this analysis was performed to help establish nutrient intakes at breakfast for those with the highest overall diet quality which helped to guide the development of the recommended targets)
Based on these analyses and taking into consideration WHO guidelines for public health-sensitive nutrients, a set of recommendations for 22 nutrients was derived. For ease of harmonization, the recommendations are expressed in relation to WHO and Codex Daily Values but they can be applied to National Daily Values.
The recommendations have been expressed as percentages of nutrient reference values (NRVs) from the World Health Organization and Codex. The full methodology and final set of recommendations has been published and is available below.