A British campaign group says it’s examined over a hundred meat-free food alternatives – often seen as a healthier choice – and found many are exceeding maximum recommended salt levels, with some even saltier than seawater.
Action on Salt, a group based at Queen Mary University of London, says its research has found that on average meat-free burgers contain more salt than regular beef burgers.
The group studied 157 meat alternative products, including meat free burgers, sausages and mince, and found many were concealing high levels of salt, some above recommended levels.
The group is calling for Public Health England (PHE) to address its concerns over meat-free products and put in place a salt reduction strategy.
The saltiest product surveyed was Tofurky’s Deli Slices Hickory Smoked and Tesco’s Meat Free 8 Bacon Style Rasher with both containing more salt per 100g than seawater.
There were large variations between products in the same category, it said, with researchers finding an 83 per cent difference between the saltiest and least salty meat-free mince products.
“The food industry have ensured greater availability of meat-free alternatives, but now they must do more to ensure that meat free alternatives contain far less salt – at the very least lower than their meat equivalents,” said Action on Salt nutritionist Mhairi Brown.
Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of the campaign group, added: “Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to reduce the number of people dying or suffering from entirely unnecessary strokes and heart disease.
“Given the vast amounts of strokes and heart disease that could be avoided and huge savings to the NHS, it is incomprehensible that Public Health England are not doing more to reduce the amount of salt in our food. We are again calling on PHE to take urgent action.”