A significant proportion of meat-free burgers, sausages and mince contain unacceptable levels of salt, a campaign group has found.
According to Action on Salt, 28% of the 157 meat substitute products studied by them did not meet Public Health England (PHE) voluntary salt targets. In some cases, products were found to be saltier than Atlantic seawater, the report says.
Action on Salt is calling on PHE to take “urgent action” to make food manufacturers adhere to maximum recommended salt levels.
Out of all the meat-free products investigated by Action on Salt, only three were found to be low in salt. Tofurky's Deli Slices Hickory Smoked and Tesco's Meat Free Bacon Style Rashers were the saltiest meat substitutes studied, containing, 3.5g and 3.2g of salt per 100g respectively.
PHE's salt target for meat-free bacon is 1.88g of salt per 100g. For comparison, seawater has around 2.5g of salt per 100g.
While their meat-free bacon was found to be extremely high in salt, Tesco’s Meat-Free Mince had one of the lowest salt levels of all the products analysed – just 0.2g of salt per 100g.
Speaking about the findings of the study, Mhairi Brown, nutritionist at Action on Salt, said: “The food industry has 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.
“This survey drives home the urgent need for Public Health England to reinvigorate the UK's salt reduction strategy.”