The report out today reveals the unnecessary levels of salt found in some of the UK’s best-selling crumpets with no change in over four years.
Action on salt found that one key player is failing to put the health of their customers first, and is ultimately holding others back from making further progress.
The UK Government must now mandate the salt reduction targets as a key public health strategy to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease, say Action on Salt.
Despite being called out for their high salt levels in 2016, Warburtons continues to fail in reducing the salt content across its entire range of crumpets in what appears to be a complete disregard for the importance of salt reduction on our health.
Reducing salt intake across the UK population, says the expert group, will help reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease.
A 20% reduction in salt by this leading British baking firm would bring them in line with the UK salt reduction targets5 and would remove a whopping 109 tonnes of salt from the UK diet per year – equivalent to the weight of 9 double decker buses
In fact, just one Warburtons standard sized crumpet provides the same amount of salt (0.81g) as two portions of McDonald’s Small Fries1, and their giant crumpet contains as much salt (1.48g) as three portions of McDonald’s Small Fries.
Their gluten-free crumpets have INCREASED in salt by more than a third making them the only company to not even meet the previous 2017 salt reduction maximum targets set by Public Health England
Morrisons Crumpets have also increased in salt since 2016 by 26%; no significant reductions have been made by any other company.
When it comes to variations in salt content, Warburtons Crumpets contain a staggering 58% more salt at 1.48g/100g than the least salty crumpet surveyed, Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Luxury Multiseed Sourdough Crumpets (0.94g/100).
Both are exactly the same size at 55g per crumpet.
Despite most of the products stating ‘one crumpet’ as a serving size on pack, Action on Salt’s online polling data suggests the majority of people consume two or more crumpets at any one time
Eating just two Warburtons Gluten Free Crumpets (the highest salt per standard sized crumpet) would provide over a third of an adult’s maximum daily recommended allowance (6g salt) – and that’s before considering the toppings.
Comparing to another breakfast favourite, two crumpets provide the same salt content as five and a half slices of white bread
Total salt in crumpets can come from both added salt (sodium chloride) and raising agents (baking powder). As well as reducing the amount of added salt, low salt raising agents such as potassium bicarbonate can be used and are accepted by Public Health England as a suitable and safe alternative to salt
Over a third of crumpets surveyed have potassium labelled in their ingredients list. This, along with the variation in salt content seen across crumpets, clearly demonstrates that reductions in this category are technically possible.
With the planned dissolution of Public Health England (PHE) during 2021, rather worryingly no clear strategy has been confirmed by the Government with regards to who will take responsibility for driving the UK’s salt reduction programme and saving lives.
Sonia Pombo, Nutritionist and Campaign Manager at Action on Salt says:
“Our findings show a clear divide between the food companies that are actively trying to improve the nation’s health and those that aren’t. Three years on from the 2017 salt reduction targets, some companies are still failing to make meaningful reductions in salt, despite it clearly being achievable. With new targets now set for 2024, it’s time they stopped dithering and started levelling up with the more responsible companies.”
Zoe Davies, Nutritionist at Action on Salt adds:
“Crumpets are a popular comfort food for both adults and children as increased sales indicate. But with added toppings they can quickly accumulate to half of our recommended maximum salt intake for the day (6g). To make crumpets a healthier choice, consider adding no added salt peanut butter or eating with scrambled egg to make one crumpet more substantial. This keeps you fuller for longer whilst keeping the salt content down.”