Plant-based meat substitutes including sausages and meatballs are often packed with salt, research shows
- Plant-based processed food is often excessively high in salt, a new study found
- More than 75 per cent of products analysed failed to meet salt reduction targets
- Salt significantly higher than meat in five out of six plant-based products, say researchers from Queen Mary University
Plant-based sausages, meatballs and other alternatives to meat are often excessively high in salt, according to research.
Vegan and vegetarian products are seen as having a ‘health halo’, but their salt levels breached government guidelines, a study found.
More than 75 per cent of the products analysed failed to meet the Government’s salt reduction targets.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London compared 207 plant-based meat products with 226 meat products.
M&S Food Plant Kitchen No Chicken Kievs had one of the highest salt levels in the study at 1.78g per 100g, with a total salt portion of 2.49g
Researchers from Queen Mary University analysed just how much salt was in vegetarian processed food
They found plant-based meat to have fewer calories, total and saturated fat and more fibre than meat equivalents, the research backed by Action on Salt said.
But their salt content was significantly higher than meat in five out of six product categories.
Only two of the plant-based products would be considered low in salt (less than 0.3g of salt per 100g), compared with 45 meat products.
The plant-based alternatives included Linda McCartney vegetarian meatballs, M&S plant-based chicken kievs, Quorn Best of British sausages, as well as products by Waitrose, Birds Eye, Co-op, Richmond and the Vegetarian Butcher.
Linda McCartney’s vegetarian meatballs were found to have 1.7g of salt per 100g – way beyond the healthy limit of 0.3g of salt per 100g
Study co-author Professor Graham MacGregor told the journal Nutrients: ‘Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to lower blood pressure, reduce health inequalities and prevent people from dying unnecessarily.
‘The Government put the food industry in charge of public health at the public’s expense.
‘The time has now come to take back control and force the industry to act more responsibly.’