SANDWICHES CAN contain a fairly thick slice of daily guidelines amounts of fat and salt, according to a new report by Which?
The research, which focussed on sandwiches bought through retailers, found that contents varied so widely that a sandwich bought in one shop could have three times as much fat and double the amount of salt as the same one in another shop.
Researchers also said inconsistent labelling across stores meant that healthier sandwich options were not always obvious. Examples include Morrisons chicken salad sandwich which contains 11.7g fat (amber/medium) compared with one from Waitrose which contains 6.0g fat (green/low).
The consumer group has called for the Government to insist that all food companies use traffic lights on their labels.
The British Sandwich Association has leapt to the sectors defence. In a statement, BSA director Jim Winship said:
In the case of packaged sandwiches, all major retailers provide information either on the front or back of pack and most provide much more than they are required to as they see it as part of their responsibility to consumers to work with Government to encourage healthier diets.
In the case of foodservice outlets like Greggs and Pret A Manger, where sandwiches are made on site by hand, it is not always possible to provide nutritional information on pack as there can be variations in size from one sandwich to the next. This can affect nutrition levels and, therefore, makes it difficult to precisely label each product. Indeed, if they were to do so these outlets could be accused of misleading consumers if there were variations between sandwiches.
However, most retailers who are unable to provide the guidance information on label and there is no legal requirement for foodservice outlets to label do voluntarily provide guidance on websites or at point-of-sale.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd added: With obesity levels reaching epidemic proportions, its more important than ever that consumers know exactly what theyre eating.