Dips and Salads

Health campaigners today turned their fire on supermarket dips, claiming they were “huge salt and fat traps loaded with excess calories”.

A new survey by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) said products widely regarded as a healthy option and a guilt-free snacking alternative sometimes contained as much salt as four packets of ready salted crisps.

The survey looked at 210 chilled dips across all major supermarket chains including houmous, guacamole, salsa and taramasalata.

It found that 74% (80 out of 108) of houmous lines featured a red front-of-pack label for fat and no green labels for salt.

A serving of Asda’s taramasalata, for example, contained the same amount of salt as 13 Ritz crackers, said the report.

Another of the saltiest houmous dips was Marks & Spencer’s caramelised onion houmous containing over a quarter of the daily maximum recommended intake for salt, said CASH.

The survey also found a large variation in salt content within the same dip category.

The salt content in houmous dips ranged from 0.43g per 100g (Lidl red pepper houmous) to 1.6g per 100g (Tesco caramelised onion houmous).

When it came to sour cream-based dips, the salt content ranged from 0.25g per 100g (Essential Waitrose reduced fat sour cream & chive) to 0.75g per 100g (Asda 30% less fat sour cream & chive Dip).

“Once again we demonstrate the unnecessary amounts of salt and fat being added by the food industry to what could be a healthy product,” said CASH chairman Professor Graham MacGregor.

“A diet high in salt leads to strokes and heart disease, the commonest cause of death in the UK. Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to reduce the number of people suffering, which is why it is imperative the government announces a new robust plan for reducing salt in our diet.”