Consensus on Salt and Health (CASH) has hit out at supermarket free-from products, which it claims contain a much higher salt content than their standard alternatives.
Research carried out by CASH analysed the contents of 71 supermarket own-label products in ‘free-from’ ranges (gluten, wheat or dairy-free), and compared them to the retailer’s standard version.
However, only just over half (56.3%) of the free-from products contained more salt, and 26.7% contained less.
Topping CASH’s saltiest free-from list was Sainsbury’s Free From Jaffa Cakes which contained six times a much salt in the free-from range - 0.67g of salt per 100g, compared to 0.1g of salt per 100g in standard Sainsbury’s Jaffa Cakes.
Other products on the list were Morrisons free from Chocolate Chip Cookies, which contained 1.5g of salt per 100g, compared to 0.5g per 100g in the standard version, and Asda Free From Double Chocolate Muffins which contain 1g of salt per 100g, compared to 0.3g per 100g in the standard version.
“In general, it has been the supermarket own-label products that have led the way in salt reduction, but it seems that own-label products for people with existing health problems have not been a top priority for the retailers,” commented Graham MacGregor, chairman of CASH and professor of cardiovascular medicine.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s was quoted in The Daily Telegraph as saying the supermarket was actively working on reducing the salt levels in its free-from range.