High street retailer Marks & Spencer must be hoping that all their excess salt will help preserve their image as recent reports have found that the retail behemoth sell 7 out of the 10 most salty salads in town.
Health conscious people of Britain who rely on high street supermarkets such as M&S for a healthier alternative to the masses of fast food outlets available, and are now learning that their “healthier option” might be anything but. The study of 270 salad dishes surveyed by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), found only six contained less salt than a packet of crisps. Results also suggested that one-tenth of all the salads had more salt than the 2.1g contained in a Big Mac burger.
This news will probably let the patrons of McDonalds feel a little smug, but what have Marks & Spencer have to say on the matter? Claire Hughes, M&S’s nutritionist, had the following to say…
The Cash study misleads consumers regarding the actual level of salt content in the salads. She added that all the different pack sizes are clearly labelled, and that M&S is committed to providing a range of choices for consumers when it comes to what they want to eat.
So Claire Hughes clearly doesn’t care what adverse effects their ‘healthy foods’ are having on their customers. How concerned should people be though? Cash campaign manager Katharine Jenner said: “Many choose salad as a healthy and convenient lunch, particularly when watching their waistline.
“Rather than feeling healthy, however, they often feel bloated and sluggish, symptoms of water retention which can be caused by the hidden salt in these salads.
“In the long term the health problems are more serious, as salt intake is linked to osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Given the healthy image of salads it’s surprising to find that they contain such high levels of unnecessary salt.”
So… osteoporosis? High blood pressure? These aren’t things that your customers should be worried about, Claire? Your ‘Taste of Asia’ salad has a salt level of 2.81g – that’s almost as much as 6 packets of crisps, and 0.71g more than a Big Mac burger. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends adults eat no more than 6g of salt a day – about a teaspoonful – to minimise the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. People eating an M&S salad are almost half-way there!
Also guilty of flogging high-salt content salads are usual suspects KFC, McDonalds and other supermarket chains Tesco and Waitrose, and the fact that of the 270 salads studied only 6 contained less salt than a packet of crisps, is bound to have customers thinking twice about their diet. As yet though, only M&S has responded with any official statement – and an extremely nonchalant one at that.
So attention, salad lovers. They’re not just salty; they’re M&S salty.