News Releases

Running on Empty — Hungry Students Struggle to Make the Grade

MISSISSAUGA, ON, September 1, 2015 – As Canada’s children head back to class, we’re reminded of the impact a good education can have. The classroom is where hope and learning happen. It should be where every child gains confidence and begins to achieve his or her potential — but for the one in seven who go to school each day with an empty tummy, that’s not the case. These kids are running on empty and, without support, they will struggle to realize their dreams.

The impact of hunger in the classroom is more than academic; it’s tangible – particularly for the teachers who bear daily witness to the difficulties faced by hungry children. In fact, according to the second annual Kellogg’s Breakfasts for Better Days Survey of Canadian teachers, students who miss breakfast lose an average of 104 minutes of learning every single day.[i] That’s 61 days or more than three months of class time lost each year[ii]!

“Within the first few days of class, it’s evident which students are coming to school hungry,” says Dr. Maureen Yates, Principal of Sherwood School in Edmonton. “From the obvious cues like stomach grumbles, to the more subtle ones such as shortened attention spans, they struggle to keep up with the rest of the class. Many teachers, myself included, try to help and stock a snack pantry, but it’s not always enough.”

The survey found that an overwhelming 92 per cent of teachers agree that hungry students participate less frequently; 90 per cent say that those same students are unable to concentrate in the classroom and 78 per cent of Canadian educators assert that they are more lethargic than their peers.

Even more harrowing, nearly half of all teachers (43 per cent) report witnessing hungry students stealing food from their classmates to quiet their growling stomachs. And, 74 per cent of teachers shared that students who are in need avoid admitting that they need help.


The survey also sought to better understand the experience of teachers compared to the perceptions of parents. With 82 per cent agreeing that it is a significant issue, the findings reveal that parents have an authentic appreciation of the prevalence of childhood hunger in Canada.

They also, however, underestimate how much hunger can actually impede a child’s ability to learn. When asked how much learning time a student loses when he or she is hungry, parents estimate an average of 25.5 days each year — half of what teachers report.


To raise awareness of how hunger affects learning, Kellogg Canada has developed the Reverse Hunger online video and the #LostEducation infographic, both of which vividly depict the depth of struggle a child experiences when he or she is hungry. 

Canadians everywhere are encouraged to share Reverse Hunger and the infographic on their social networks using hashtag #LostEducation.

“There is a direct link between missing breakfast and a lost education,” explains Daniel Germain, President and Founder of Breakfast Club of Canada. “Investments in computers and books are wasted if a student can’t hear the teacher over his or her growling stomach. Breakfast programs, like those supported by Kellogg Canada, can make a big difference as evidenced by the Kellogg’s survey which found that 97 per cent of teachers working in a school with a Breakfast Club recognize the programs as having a positive impact.”

“At Kellogg, we believe in the power of breakfast to fuel possibilities and potential. That’s why we made a global commitment to donate one billion servings of cereal and snacks, half of which are breakfast, to children and families in need by the end of 2016,” shares Lores Tomé, Director, Communications and Corporate Affairs, Kellogg Canada Inc. “As part of our Breakfasts for Better Days initiative, Kellogg Canada is supporting breakfast programs across the country and the thousands of volunteers who are actively working to stamp out hunger in our classrooms.”

In addition to supporting breakfast clubs for more than 10 years, the Company is again encouraging Canadians to buy a box and help feed children and families who need it the most. For every box of cereal sold, Kellogg Canada will donate a portion of the proceeds, to a maximum of $100,000, to its breakfast partners across the country. This is in addition to the more than one million dollars donated to breakfast clubs from coast to coast to date.


Driven to enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter, Kellogg Canada is the leading producer of ready-to-eat cereal in Canada. Every day, our well-loved brands nourish families so they can flourish and thrive. These include All-Bran*, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes*, Corn Pops*, Eggo*, Froot Loops*, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes*, Kashi*, Kellogg's* Two Scoops* Raisin Bran, Mini-Wheats*, Nutri-Grain*, Pop-Tarts*, Pringles*, Rice Krispies*, Special K* and Vector*. Through our Breakfasts for Better Days™ global philanthropic initiative, we’re providing 1 billion servings of cereal and snacks – more than half of which are breakfasts – to children and families in need around the world by the end of 2016. To learn more about our responsible business leadership, foods that delight and how we strive to make a difference in our communities around the world, visit To learn more about Kellogg Canada’s efforts in these areas, please visit

* © 2015, Trademark of Kellogg Company used under license by Kellogg Canada Inc.





From June 12 to June 16, 2015 an online Study was conducted among 405 randomly selected Canadian elementary, middle and high school teachers who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.


[i] This is the second Kellogg’s Breakfast for Better Days Survey. The 2014 survey similarly found that students who arrive at school hungry lose between one and two hours of learning per day.


[ii] 390 minutes (average school day) – 60 (lunch) = 330 minutes   |   Total minutes of education lost = 104 x 194 (school days) = 20,176   |   Days lost = 20,176/330 = 61 days of education lost   |  Months of education lost = 61/20 (average number of school days per month) = 3 months