Supermarket sliced own- label bread is lower in salt than branded loaves, British Baker research shows.

New figures reveal that Sainsbury’s leads the field, with standard own-label sliced bread containing 0.8g salt per 100g. The supermarket recently reduced salt levels in its bread by 15% and doubled fibre levels by including Hi-maize, a natural fibre derived from maize.

Sainsbury’s is followed by Waitrose, which has 0.88g per 100g in its own-label sliced bread. Marks & Spencer and Tesco are next, both at 1g per 100g, followed by Morrisons at 1.2g per 100g. Asda is changing own-label bread suppliers on February 28. From then, bread will have 1g salt per 100g.

Salt content of branded bread tends to be higher than supermarket own-label bread, although there have been reductions over the years. Allied Bakeries’ best-seller, Kingsmill Sandwich White, the Hovis brand and Roberts’ loaves all have 1.25g salt per 100g.

Warburtons says it plans to reduce the entire range of bread and rolls to sodium levels of 0.49g per 100g (1.25g of salt per 100g) or below. Currently, its lowest sodium level in bread is 0.38g per 100g (1g salt per 100g).

RHM Bread Bakeries technical director Paul Molyneux explained: “Loaves of own-label bread tend to have smaller slices than branded loaves, which does not stress the bread as much, so less salt is needed.”

The FSA’s proposed targets for salt in plant bread (subject to consultation) are 0.9g per 100g by 2010. The Federation of Bakers says members may have difficulty meeting targets, and has suggested an alternative target of 1.25g per 100g by 2010 (0.5g sodium).

Loaves of sliced own-label bread – how the supermarkets stack up. Salt per 100g (sodium x 2.55 = salt)

Sainsbury’s: 0.8g (0.3g sodium).

Waitrose: 0.9g (0.35g sodium).

Asda: 1g

Tesco: 1g (0.4g sodium)

Marks & Spencer: 1g, with “further salt reductions on bread in 2005/06”.

Morrisons: 1.2g. “We will continue to make progressive reductions across all categories to ensure the FSA’s targets are met.”