It has been reported by the chief marketing officer at Sainsbury’s that the company is trying to make sure that new plant-based foods are not less healthy than the meat they are designed to replace. Mark Given reported at a speech he made at a Cop26 event that “we do worry about some of the salt and fat content in some of the alternatives that are out there” Sainsbury’s boss reveals concerns over fatty vegan food products (telegraph.co.uk).
Plant-based foods often lack flavour so fat and salt are used as ingredients to improve consumer acceptability. However the over-use of salt as a flavour enhancer has provided some interesting statistics. A recent survey by Action on Salt has exposed that many “healthy” sounding plant-based and vegan meals that are served in UK restaurants, fast food and coffee chains can contain more salt than 8 McDonald’s hamburgers. During their survey it was discovered that one in five dishes provide more than half an adults maximum daily recommendation for saturated fat and 45% of plant-based meals eaten out of the home contain more than 3g of salt, which is half the recommended daily intake of salt in just a single meal Salt Awareness Week: Plant Based Meals in the Out of Home Sector - Action on Salt.
There is clearly a lot of work to do to ensure that the consumer is not misled into believing that when they choose a vegan or vegetarian option, whether from the supermarket, restaurant or take-away, that it is truly a healthier choice.
Product reformulation to reduce salt has been made easy by one for one salt replacers like Smart Salt® mineral technology which is used in Suölo® Reduced Sodium Sea Salt. This technology allows up to 60% reduction of salt in some products while maintaining great flavour impact. This mineral technology not only has great flavour impact but it has been shown in a dietary intervention study to bring daily salt intake in line with current recommended levels and significantly reduce hypertension in people with mildly elevated blood pressure when used to replace 50% of salt in the foods and seasonings we eat (1) .
Recent legislation from the UK government will restrict the promotion of foods containing high fat, sugar and salt in retail stores from 2022 and will encourage food manufacturers to reformulate their food products Promotions of unhealthy foods restricted from October 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Mineral salt replacers like Smart Salt® will have a part to play in providing great tasting, but safe and healthy food for the consumer.
You don’t have to wait for the food industry to react because if you prefer to cook from scratch at home it’s easy to reduce salt intake. When you use Suölo® Reduced Sodium Sea Salt and seasonings you can be assured that in every shake there is always 50% less sodium than salt but with all the taste.
1. Sarkkinen et al., 2011. Feasibility and anti-hypertensive effect of replacing regular salt with mineral salt rich in magnesium and potassium in subjects with mildly elevated blood pressure. Nutrition Journal Vol 10:88