Salt content of vegan meals outside the home
Action on Salt has published a new report that includes a consumer survey and a survey of the salt levels in plant-based meals available in restaurants, fast food chains, and coffee shops.
Action on Salt published a new report that includes a consumer survey and a survey of the salt levels in plant-based meals available in restaurants, fast food chains, and coffee shops.
The consumer survey found that two thirds of respondents reported being concerned about the levels of salt in restaurant and takeaway foods. When plant-based menu options were surveyed:
- Three out of five restaurant meals (96 out of 151) were found to have 3g or more of salt.
- Nearly two in five meals from fast food and coffee chains (29 out of 128) had 3g or more of salt.
- 19 of the restaurant meals had 6g or more of salt.
This is one half (3g) and the total (6g) of an adult’s maximum daily recommended intake of salt respectively in a single meal.
Of those who purchased vegan or plant-based foods, health improvement was the main motivation ahead of animal welfare and environmental reasons. This demonstrates a perception that meals marketed as vegan or plant-based are healthier than their non-vegan equivalents.
They concluded that the health halo associated with vegan and plant-based foods can mask high levels of salt often found in the ‘out of home’ sector. Excessive salt in the diet can lead to high blood pressure which increases risk of stroke and heart disease. Intuitively, vegan and plant-based meals should be a healthier choice for the environment and the population. However, this is not always the case and government, food industry, and individual actions are needed to help keep on top of salt reduction targets.