12 Mar 2020

A new Action on Salt survey reveals that many restaurant vegan and plant-based meals are high in salt, and has called on the government to intervene.

The new survey revealed that:

  • Nearly half (45%) of meals eaten out of the home contain 3g or more salt in just a single meal – that’s half the maximum daily limit for an adult
  • Additionally, over one in five dishes provide more than half an adult’s maximum daily recommendation for saturated fat
  • The eating out sector lags far behind the food sold in supermarkets. It’s now up to the Secretary of State for Health to enforce the targets, in order to ensure a level playing field.

Sonia Pombo, Campaign Manager for Action on Salt says: “This survey highlights that some restaurants are always looking for new ways to produce unhealthy dishes, this time hidden under a vegan health halo, but continuing to drown us in salt and saturated fat just the same. Eating a more plant based diet can and should be beneficial for a number of reasons, but whether you are looking to eat less meat for animal welfare, sustainability or health reasons, it is important to know a ‘plant-based’ or ‘vegan’ label does not automatically qualify a product as healthy. It is time for restaurants and cafes to step up and start making food that is healthy for us and better for the planet”

Zoe Davies, Nutritionist at Action on Salt explains: “Making healthier choices isn’t always the easy option, but whereas much of the retail sector voluntarily displays clear nutrition information on the front of their packaging to help shoppers find the healthier options, the eating out sector have yet to be as transparent. In fact they are hiding behind labels such as ‘vegan’ and ‘plant-based’, and our research shows this is misleading customers into thinking they are healthy. We need to see clear nutritional information displayed both online and on menus, to make it easier for diners to make genuine, informed healthy choices.”

Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Chair of Action on Salt, adds: “It is shocking that many in the out of home sector appear to be deliberately ignoring the voluntary salt reduction targets, in what many regard incorrectly as healthy food. The government must enforce stricter and more comprehensive salt reduction targets and create a fair and level playing field wherever you choose to eat. Salt is the leading cause of raised bloo pressure which in turn is the major cause of strokes and heart disease. According to the Department of Health & Social Care, each on gram/day reduction in population salt intake, saves more than 4,000 premature deaths per year. Given this, it is immoral of any food company not to do their part, and the Secretary of State needs to act now.”

Read the full article here