If you’re grabbing a sandwich at lunchtime, be sure to check the labels closely.
New analysis of some of the nation’s favourite sandwiches has revealed that they vary greatly in fat, sugar, salt and calorie content.
Researchers analysed the contents of 10 of the most popular sandwiches from five of the UK’s biggest supermarkets and found that Sainsbury’s Ploughman’s was the worst offender, with high fat, calorie and salt content.
In contrast, Boots’ tuna and cucumber was awarded the title of healthiest sandwich, thanks to its low fat, calorie and sugar content.
To identify the least healthy sandwiches, researchers working with kitchen company Ship It Appliances analysed 10 popular flavours from each shop: tuna and cucumber, chicken salad, ham and mustard, cheese and onion, chicken, bacon and mayo, prawn mayonnaise, Ploughman’s, egg and cress, BLT and chicken and stuffing.
Perhaps surprisingly, the researchers found that Sainsbury’s Ploughman’s has more saturated fat and sugar than a Big Mac, with a packet equalling 77% of the recommended saturated fat intake for adults.
Although Sainsbury’s Ploughman’s was the worst offender for an individual sandwich, three of M&S’ sandwiches appeared in the top five for fat, salt and calorie content.
The researchers also created graphics detailing how nutritional values vary when you’re buying the same flavour sandwiches from different shops.
If you’re looking for a healthy prawn mayo, head to Boots, or if BLT is more your thing, you’ll find the healthiest option at Waitrose.
Overall, Boots was awarded the title of “healthiest” shop to buy sandwiches from, while Tesco came out bottom as the “least healthy”.
In response to the graphics, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “We offer a wide range that includes healthy choices, and are committed to giving our customers clear nutritional information to help them make informed decisions about the food they buy.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We have a wide range of healthy lunch options available at Tesco, including sandwiches, wraps, salads and sushi. All are clearly labelled with their sugar, calorie, salt and fat content so customers can make an informed decision about what to buy. We’re committed to helping customers make healthy choices and have already removed billions of calories from thousands of our products, including soft drinks, cereals and ready meals.”
A Boots spokesperson said: “As a leading health and beauty retailer, Boots UK is committed to offering great value, and deliciously healthy food for our customers. Our Meal deal is one of the best value on the high street and with 14 million combinations, our wide choice of products are developed within a nutritional framework that carefully limits the calories, fat and sugar without compromising on taste. Customers can also choose from the exclusive, under 500 calories Shapers range. The lunch options within the Boots Meal Deal also cater for the majority of dietary requirements, offering gluten-free products, a wide range of vegetarian options and a recently introduced vegan alternative.”
HuffPost UK has also contacted Waitrose and M&S for comment and is awaiting a response.