New research from the United Kingdom affirms the importance of breakfast in a healthy diet.

Researchers found that breakfast cereals make a significant contribution to the vitamin and mineral intake of low-income persons in the UK, according to a recent report in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Breakfast cereal consumption was also related to higher intakes of calcium, attributable to higher milk consumption,” researchers said.

It’s further impetus to promote breakfast as a way to promote dairy consumption.

One observer has suggested that the dairy industry “defend the importance of breakfast.”

“The highest proportion of milk is consumed at breakfast,” Stephen Goldbach, partner at the Monitor research firm, told those attending the annual meeting of the International Dairy Foods Association in January 2011. 

Instead of promoting milk generically against other beverages, such as bottled water or soft drinks, Goldbach suggested promoting milk by the “occasion.” Occasion-based marketing focuses on certain times of the day or certain activities where consumers might be inclined to choose milk over other beverages.

It is also an opportunity to partner and leverage marketing dollars with other breakfast food providers, such as cereal companies, he said.