A survey by the organisation singled out M&S’ meal deal Italian Antipasto Delicatessen Selection, Gastropub Gammon Shanks with a Rich Orange & Cranberry Sauce, Truffled Cauliflower Cheese and Dutch Apple Tarts.
The research indicated that it contained 7.16g of salt per person, more than an adult’s daily recommended maximum allowance.
CASH also identified Valentine’s meal deals from Waitrose, Morrisons and Asda as having high levels of salt (see the box below). It also found that most retailers failed to promote healthier choices to their customers.
Of the retailers surveyed, only M&S, Iceland, The Co-op and Waitrose provided a small choice of unprocessed fruit and vegetables as a side dish/dessert option as part of the deal.
Duty of care
“Retailers should have a duty of care to their customers, so it’s very disappointing to see such a poor offering of healthier choices available in their Valentine’s meal deals,” said CASH campaign manager Sonia Pombo.
“While Valentine treats are fine, there is no need to make it at the expense of our health. Many of these meal combinations provide an excessive amount of salt and calories, saturates and sugars, all of which put us at increased risk of heart disease, and could easily be reformulated, with much lower levels of salt.”
CASH chairman Graham MacGregor urged the government to do more to reduce the UK’s salt intake to prevent unnecessary deaths caused by high blood pressure-related diseases.
“The government now needs to come up with a new robust plan that slowly reduces the salt content of all foods and stops the food industry from promoting unhealthy products and causing thousands of unnecessary deaths,” he added.
FoodManufacture.co.uk has approached M&S for a comment.
Meanwhile, CASH welcomed a recent report that concluded using potassium-based salt replacers instead of sodium in food would have a positive impact on public health.
Meal deals highlighted for being high in salt
- Waitrose: Scottish Cooked Mussels in a Bisque Sauce, Easy to Cook Coq au Vin, Cauliflower Cheese and a Salted Caramel & Chocolate Tart – 5.49g salt per person, 92% of an adults maximum recommended intake
- Morrisons: Champagne & Scottish Hot Smoked Salmon Risotto, Salmon, Smoked Haddock & King Prawn Fish Pie, The Best Maris Piper Chunky Chips and Belgian Chocolate & Blood Orange Tarts – 5.45g salt, 91% of an adults’ maximum recommended intake.
- Asda: Extra Special Cornish Camembert with a Sloe Gin & Cranberry Dip, Extra Special Slow-cooked Pork and Chorizo Stew, Extra Special Garlic & Herb Creamy Mash, Extra Special Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese and Extra Special Red Velvet Melting Puddings – 5.24g of salt, 87% of an adults’ maximum recommended intake.