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70% of UK ‘meal deal’ snacks are too high in fat, salt, and sugar, says new study

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
chicken sandwich

Around three quarters of British snacks which feature in the high street ‘meal deal’ category contain dangerous levels of fat, salt and sugar (HFSS), according to a recent report conducted by the campaign group Action on Salt in time for Salt Awareness Week.

Nearly 30% of snacks were deemed to exceed maximum salt targets, with most of these being meat-based products or biscuits.

Sixty-four percent of snacks that had a health or nutrition-based claim were still recorded as being high in salt, fat or sugars.

The most widely available type of snack across all stores were crisps (36%) and confectionery (21%).

The report bases its findings on 533 meal deal snacks collected from a range of high street stores including Asda, Tesco, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Shell, Subway and Boots.

Out of all the snack selections analysed, Sainsbury’s was noted as having the largest amount of healthier snacks in the meal deal category, as well as selling snacks that had a greater compliance with salt reduction targets.

The high-street stores offering snacks with the highest level of fat, sugar and salt, according to the report, are:

  • Subway: 82% of 17 snacks
  • Asda: 82% of 45 snacks
  • Co-op: 81% of 79 snacks
  • Shell: 76% of 78 snacks
  • Boots: 75% of 115 snacks
  • Tesco: 72% of 112 snacks
  • Sainsbury’s: 66% of 47 snacks
  • Morrisons: 63% of 38 snacks

Eighty-three percent of Subway snacks and 82% of Asda snacks that come under HFSS were also said to contain nutrition or health-based messages on labels, which could be misleading for customers.

Subway currently offers the saltiest meal deal, containing 5.3g, which nearly reaches the maximum daily salt intake of 6g in one meal.

Other meal deals which were recorded as having unhealthy levels of salt include:

  • Tesco: own-brand Chicken Club Sandwich, own-brand Green Olives with Herbs and 500ml Oasis Citrus Punch came out at 4.2g of salt
  • Boots: own-brand Chicken & Bacon, Chicken Salad, and Chicken Stuffing Sandwich, Heck Bangin’ Bites 97% Cocktails with Sausage Sauce and 310ml UFit Chocolate Orange Protein Shake came out at 4.49g of salt
  • Co-op: own-brand Chicken and Bacon Sandwich, 65g own-brand Lemon & Coriander Green Olives, and 500ml Lucozade Energy Orange Drink, came out at 4.13g of salt
  • Sainsbury’s: own-brand Chicken and Maple Cured Bacon Sandwich, own-brand Trio of Olives, 500ml Lucozade Energy Orange Drink, came out at 3.39g
  • Morrison’s: Heavently Taste Chicken Tandoori Wrap, own-brand Fish Sushi Snack pack and 500ml Oasis Zero Summer Fruits, came out at 3.08g of salt
  • Asda: own-brand Chicken and Bacon Caesar Triple, own-brand Fish Sushi Snack pack, and 500ml Oasis Zero Summer Fruits, came out at 3.61g of salt
  • Shell: Jamie Oliver Deli by Shell Roast Chicken & Bacon Sandwich, McCoy’s Salt and Malt Vinegar Crisps 47.5g, and 500ml Lucozade Energy Orange, came out at 2.88g of salt.

Still convinced the new HFSS regulations are all doom and gloom? Discover the opportunities the new legislation could bring for your brand in our Masterclass with Andy Wardlaw, Susannah Croucher, Debargha Ganguly and Paul Sheldrake:

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