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Consensus Action on Salt and Health

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  • 1. The Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Queen Mary, University of London, EC1M 6BQ Telephone: 020 7882 6018 E-mail: cash@qmul.ac.uk Website: www.actiononsalt.org.uk Media Release Embargoed – not for publication before 00.01, 25 February 2010 Is your favourite soup still full of salt?  Research finds lots of salt hidden in popular household brands  High street cafés are some of the worst offenders  Still a long way to go to meet the salt reduction targets 25 February 2010 New research carried out by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) shows that many soups on sale in the UK, particularly some well known brands and those from popular high street café‟s, still contain high levels of salt [1]. Soup is often seen as a healthy light meal or snack alternative, and whilst the survey showed that progress has been made to reduce the salt in soups; 99% of the surveyed soups contain more salt per portion than a packet of crisps [2], a quarter individually still fail to meet the 2010 Food Standards Agency average voluntary targets [3] and only 6% can be labelled „green‟ based on the traffic light labelling system [4]. CASH surveyed 575 ready to eat soups including fresh (chilled), ready to eat (canned and pouches) and high street chain café soups [5] and included both branded and supermarket own-label products from Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, Morrison‟s, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Somerfield and The Co-operative/Somerfield as well as soups available in the larger high street cafés EAT., Caffe Nero and Pret A Manger. The highest average levels of salt were found in the high street café‟s takeaway soups, with astoundingly high salt levels found in some products from EAT., a national chain of 98 shops. In total, 10 products from EAT were found to contain more salt than the current daily maximum recommendation of 6g salt per day. The highest level of salt found was in the Eat. Very Big Soup Bold Thai Green Chicken Curry, containing 8.070g salt per 32 oz/907g portion, the same amount of salt as nearly three Big Mac and Fries [6]. Although they offer very large portions, even the Bold Green Chicken Curry soup in the smallest available size (12oz / 340 g) contains
  • 2. 2.815g/portion, nearly half of the daily recommendation and still more than a Big Mac and Fries. The highest standard sized high street café takeaway soup found was the Caffe Nero Organic Carrot & Coriander soup, at 3.6g per portion, over three and a half times more salty than the lowest café takeaway soup, a Malaysian Chicken Soup from Pret A Manger at 1.0g per portion. Amongst the fresh soups available in supermarkets, the highest product contains as much salt as nearly 5 packets of crisps; New Covent Garden Scotch Broth (2.4g/300g portion) which contains 6 times more salt than the lowest, Tideford Organics Moroccan Vegetable (0.44g/300g portion). Since CASH last surveyed soups in 2007, there has been a 17% reduction of salt per 100g soup in the ready to eat ranges. However high levels of salt are still found in big household name brands such as Batchelors Soupfulls Classic Beef and Vegetable (3.00g/400g portion) and Heinz e.g. Heinz Taste of Home Lancashire Lamb Hotpot (2.6g/430g portion). As usual, it is the supermarkets that are coming out lowest in most cases, and it is the major brands that are lagging behind. In total there are 23 products available in supermarkets which contain 2g or more salt per portion, 18 of these are from brands including Heinz, New Covent Garden and Batchelors. The 10 lowest salt ready to eat soups (for both portion and by 100g) were supermarket own brands including Morrison‟s Chicken Noodle soup (0.5g/200g portion) and ASDA Good For You Tomato & Basil soup (0.5g/200g portion), which are 16 times lower than the Eat. Bold Very Big Soup Thai Green Chicken Curry per portion. The supermarkets meet 2010 targets in 93% of cases, while the branded products are trailing with only 66% meeting targets. Huge variations were found in soups with similar flavours. Some healthier alternative include swapping Batchelors Soupfulls Classic Beef & Vegetable (3.00g/400g portion) for ASDA Chilli Beef Mighty Soup (1.1g/200g portion) saving 1.9g of salt, swapping The Yorkshire Provender Onion Soup with Hambleton Ale and Mustard (2.31g/250g portion) for Waitrose French Onion & Cider soup (0.76g/207g portion), saving 1.55g of salt or substituting Marco Pierre White‟s brand Glorious! Moroccan Tomato & Chickpea soup (2.1g/300g portion) for Tideford Organics Moroccan Vegetable soup (0.4g/300g portion) to save 1.66g salt. Comparing the amount of salt in a serving of soup bought in a supermarket is complicated by the fact that different products have widely different recommended portion or pack sizes, ranging from 200g if half a can is eaten, up to 600g if a whole tub of soup is eaten. People
  • 3. need to be aware that the salt per serving given on the label might not be how much they actually eat. Furthermore, most people will eat their soup as a snack or as part of a meal, often with a sandwich or bread, which will add further to the salt content of the meal. Two slices of bread contains an average of 0.8g of salt, therefore consuming an average supermarket bought soup (1.3g salt per portion) with two slices of bread will provide at least 2.1g salt, which is over a third of an adult‟s daily limit. The latest National Diet Nutrition Survey (NDNS), published earlier this month [7] showed that bread is still the greatest contributor of salt to our diet, across all age groups. “People tend to think salt is only in crisps, snack and ready meals” said Katharine Jenner, Nutritionist and CASH Campaign Manager. “But this survey shows huge amounts of salt can be hidden in seemingly healthy choices such as soup. While there are still soups being manufactured with really high levels of hidden salt, it is hard for us to cut down our salt intake to less than 6g of salt a day from the current average of 8.6g a day [8]. We urge manufacturers to reduce their salt content immediately.” “In general, the café style takeaway soups tend to be saltiest, whereas the fresh soups tend to be lower in salt.” says Hannah Brinsden who carried out the research for CASH. “If you are concerned about how much salt you eat try to avoid soups containing high salt ingredients such as bacon, cheese and chorizo and instead choose vegetable and tomato based ones. The best option however would be to make your own at home” “It is the very high levels of salt that are put in our food that leads to thousands of unnecessary stroke and heart deaths, Furthermore there is increasing evidence that salt intake is linked to stomach cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and kidney stones and kidney disease” says Professor Graham MacGregor, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Chairman of CASH. “The majority of the food industry is slowly taking out the salt from food, including these soups. We commend the progress so far; however they haven‟t gone far enough if we are to save the maximum number of lives. This survey shows that some companies are not cooperating, the public should boycott these products so we don‟t have to resort to legislation”. -ends-
  • 4. For more information or an interview, please contact: Professor Graham MacGregor on: 07946 405617 / 020 7882 6217, g.macgregor@qmul.ac.uk Katharine Jenner on; 07740 553298 / 020 7882 6018, k.jenner@qmul.ac.uk Hannah Brinsden on: 020 7882 5941, h.brinsden@qmul.ac.uk Notes to Editors and References: [1] Summary tables can be found below. A Word file with the full survey details should be attached with this release. If it is missing, you have problems opening the file or would like the full Excel dataset, please contact Katharine Jenner or Hannah Brinsden on the numbers above. [2] A standard 34.5g packet of Walkers Ready Salted crisps contains 0.5g of salt [3] The 2010 FSA average target for soup is 0.6g of salt per 100g. [4] The criteria for each colour on the FSA traffic lights are as follows. Green ≤ 0.30g/100g, Amber >0.30 to ≤ 1.50g/100g, Red > 1.50g/100g or >2.40g/portion. [5] 566 wet soups were included in this survey – Including fresh, ready to eat and condensed soups. Instant soups were excluded. [6] A Big Mac(2.1g salt/portion) and Medium Fries (0.6g salt/portion) totalling 2.7g from McDonald‟s as per McDonald‟s website. [7] Bread contributes 19% of an average adult‟s daily salt intake according to NDNS. the full results from the first stage are available from the FSA website http://www.food.gov.uk/science/dietarysurveys/ndnsdocuments/ndns0809year1 [8] The current average salt intake of the UK population is 8.6g a day (Source. Food Standards Agency) Other notes - Soups from EAT. come in four sizes; Small (12 oz./340ml), Big (16 oz./454ml), Very Big (32 oz/907ml - according to customer services) and soup pots (32 oz./907ml) - Batchelors are currently reformulating their Soupfulls range, new lower salt products are currently being introduced in store - Wagamama and Itzu data unavailable as they are currently reformulating with lower salt. Methodology - 575 wet soups were included in this survey – Fresh and ready to eat soups were included, as well as soups from large high street cafes. Instant soups were excluded. - Supermarket own brand and branded products, including premium, organic, economy and standard versions were included - The survey was conducted between December 2009 and February 2010. All products mentioned in this release were re-checked on 16th-18th February in store or by direct communication with the manufacturer. - Data were collected from packaging in store and online. Information was collected from Asda, Sainsbury‟s, Tesco, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Co-op, EAT., Pret A Manger and Caffe Nero.
  • 5. Data Tables 5 Highest available Café Soups Product Portion Size Salt Per portion Eat Bold Thai Green Chicken Curry „Very Big Soup‟ Approx 907ml 8.070 Eat Bold French Onion „Very Big Soup‟ Approx 907ml 7.5 Eat Bold Toulouse Sausage, Butterbean & „Very Big Soup‟ Approx 907ml 7.230 Lentil Eat Bold Texan Chilli Con Carne „Very Big Soup‟ Approx 907ml 7 Eat Bold Mexican Bean „Very Big Soup‟ Approx 907ml 7 10 Highest Salt Café Soups per Portion (based on ‘standard sized’ portion*) Product Portion Size Salt per portion Caffe Nero Organic Carrot & Coriander Not Provided 3.6 Pret A Manger Lentil & Bacon 370 3.3855 Pret A Manger Pret Classic Tomato Soup 370 3.1265 Eat. Bold Thai Green Chicken Curry 340 2.815 Pret A Manger Moroccan Chicken Soup 370 2.78 Pret A Manger Miso Soup Not Provided 2.78 Pret A Manger Mushroom Risotto 347 2.681 EAT. Bold Texan Chilli Con Carne 340 2.6 EAT Bold Toulouse Sausage, Butterbean and Lentil 340 2.538 Eat. Simple Cauliflower & Cheese 340 2.5 Pret A Manger Chilli Beef Soup Not Provided 2.443 Eat. Simple Creamy Chicken Soup 340 2.4 Pret A Manger Spinach & Nutmeg 370 2.331 10 Lowest Salt Café Soups per portion (based on ‘standard sized’ portion*) Product Portion Size Salt per portion Pret a Manger Malaysian Chicken Soup 367 1.0 Pret a Manger Winter Vegetable Soup 370 1.158 Caffe Nero Organic Leek & Potato Not Provided 1.2 Eat Simple Garden Vegetable 340 1.23 Pret a Manger Sag Aloo Soup 375 1.32 Eat Simple Leek, Potato & Chive 340 1.4 Eat Simple Roast Pumpkin 340 1.480 Eat Bold Italian Ragu & Pasta 340 1.483 Pret Carrot and Coriander Not Provided 1.52 Eat Simple Spicy Tomato & Basil 340 1.620 Eat Simple Wild Forest Mushroom 340 1.658 * Caffe Nero soups come in 300g portions, For this reason EAT. 12oz (340g) portion sizes were used as they are the fairest comparison. Eat also does 16 oz. (454g) and 32 oz. (907g). Pret A Manger provided no portion size information however we estimate it at 350g
  • 6. 10 Highest Salt Fresh Soups per portion Product Portion Size Salt per portion New Covent Garden Food Co Scotch Broth 300 2.4 Marks and Spencer King Prawn Noodle Soup 300 2.40 The Yorkshire Provender Onion soup with Hambleton Ale and 250 2.31 Mustard Marks & Spencer Full for Longer Meatball Minestrone 400 2.30 Glorious! Moroccan Tomato & Chickpea 300 2.1 New Covent Garden Co Carrot & Coriander 300 2.1 New Covent Garden Co Thai Chicken 300 2.1 New Covent Garden Co Chicken, Vegetable & Pearl Barley 300 2.1 New Covent Garden Co Lentil & Smoked Bacon 300 2.1 New Covent Garden Co Wild Mushroom 300 2.1 10 Lowest Salt Fresh Soups per Portion Product Portion Size Salt per portion Tideford Organics Moroccan Vegetable 300 0.44 ASDA Extra Special Spiced Moroccan Style Soup 300 0.50 Sainsbury‟s Tomato & Basil 300 0.75 Sainsbury‟s Carrot & Coriander 300 0.75 Sainsbury‟s Lentil & Red pepper 300 0.75 ASDA Extra Special Tomato & Basil 300 0.75 ASDA Chicken Curry Soup 300 0.8 ASDA Broccoli & Stilton 300 0.8 The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Butternut Squash and 300 0.8 Ginger Soup Tesco Finest Moroccan Chicken Soup 300 0.8 10 Highest Salt Ready to Serve Soups per Portion (as served) Product Portion Size Salt per portion Batchelors Soupfulls Classic Beef & Vegetable 400 3.00 Batchelors Soupfulls Creamy Chicken Potato & Mushroom 400 2.60 Heinz Taste of Home Lancashire Lamb Hotpot 430 2.6 Heinz Taste of Home Steak & Guinness Soup 410 2.6 Heinz Taste of Home Pork & Stuffing Soup 410 2.5 Batchelors Soupfulls Chicken & Country Vegetable 400 2.40 Waitrose Organic Carrot, Red Lentil & Cumin 350 2.20 Batchelors Soupfulls Tuscan Tomato & Pasta 400 2.10 Heinz Weight Watchers, Lentil & Carrot 295 2.0 Waitrose Celeriac, Leeks & Potato (pouch) 350 2.01
  • 7. 10 Lowest Salt Ready to Serve Soups per Portion (as served) NB Lower portion sizes are recommended for these products Product Portion Size Salt per portion Morrison‟s Chicken Noodle Soup 200 0.5 ASDA Good For You Tomato & Basil Soup 200 0.5 Tesco Light Choices Carrot & Coriander 200 0.5 Sainsbury‟s Cream of Tomato & Red Pepper Soup 200 0.50 Sainsbury‟s Chicken Noodle Soup 200 0.6 The Co-operative Healthy Living Tomato Soup 200 0.6 ASDA Good For You Carrot & Coriander 200 0.6 Sainsbury‟s British Pea & Ham Soup 207.5 0.68 Waitrose French Onion & Cider 207.5 0.76 Tesco Cream of Chicken Soup 200 0.8 Some examples of simple swaps to reduce salt intake Higher Example Salt/ Lower Example Salt/ Difference portion portion (g) Batchelors Soupfulls Classic Beef & 3.0 ASDA Chilli Beef Mighty Soup 1.1 1.9 Vegetable EAT Bold Thai Green Chicken Curry 2.815 Pret A Manger Malaysian 1.0 1.815 (small – 12 oz.) Chicken Soup Glorious! Moroccan Tomato & 2.1 Tideford Organics Moroccan 0.44 1.66 Chickpea Vegetable The Yorkshire Provender Onion soup 2.31 Waitrose French Onion & Cider 0.76 1.55 with Hambleton Ale and Mustard EAT Simple Creamy Chicken 2.4 Tesco Cream of Chicken Soup 0.8 1.6 (small – (12 oz.) Heinz Taste of Home Lancashire 2.6 Baxters Chunky Lamb 1.0 1.6 Lamb Hotpot soup Casserole Batchelors Express Soupfulls 1.5 Sainsbury‟s Cream of Tomato & 0.5 1.0 Mediterranean Tomato & Vegetable Red Pepper Baxters Favourites Lentil & Bacon 1.2 Sainsbury‟s British Pea & Ham 0.68 0.52s Soup