Warburtons crumpets fail to put health of customers first
A new report reveals that Warburtons are the worst offender when it comes to salt in crumpets
Campaign group Action on Salt has found that some of the UK’s best-selling crumpets available in supermarkets contain unnecessary amounts of salt, and their salt content has not fallen for over four years, despite a programme of salt reduction in the UK. Just one Warburtons standard-sized crumpet provides the same amount of salt (0.81g) as two portions of McDonald’s Small Fries.
Action on Salt’s survey and technical report, published in December, included possible solutions for food manufacturers for their crumpets’ salt content. They are now calling on the Government to make salt reduction targets mandatory rather than voluntary, so that food manufacturers do their bit to lower blood pressure and prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Warburtons’s salty crumpets
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. Their ‘UK’s Number 1 Crumpet’ is still the saltiest, and their ‘GIANT crumpet’ contains as much salt as three portions of McDonald’s Small Fries. Disappointingly, their gluten-free crumpets now have a third more salt than in 2016. They are the only company to not meet the 2017 target set for maximum salt content.
Action on Salt calculated that a 20% reduction in salt would bring Warburtons crumpets in line with the salt reduction targets and would remove 109 tonnes of salt from the UK diet per year – equivalent to the weight of 9 double decker buses.
Morrisons Crumpets have also increased in salt since 2016 by a quarter (26%), and no significant reductions have been made by any other company.
There was, however, variation in salt content across products showing that reducing the salt further is possible. For example, Warburtons Crumpets contain 1.48g salt per 100, while Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Luxury Multiseed Sourdough Crumpets contain just 0.94g per 100g, a difference of 58%. Both are exactly the same size at 55g per crumpet.
|Salt/100g (g)||Salt/Crumpet (g)||Crumpet size (g)|
|Warburtons Giant Crumpets||1.48||1.55||105|
|Warburtons Gluten Free Crumpets||1.43||1.04||73|
|M&S Ultimate Crumpets||1.23||0.68||55|
|Salt/100g (g)||Salt/Crumpet (g)||Crumpet size (g)|
|Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Luxury Multiseed Sourdough Crumpets||0.94||0.52||55|
|Asda Teddy Crumpets||1||0.45||45|
|Co-op Irresistable Buttermilk Enriched Sourdough Crumpets||1||0.54||54|
|Aldi Village Bakery Giant Crumpets Big & Fluffy||1||1||100|
The maximum daily recommended amount of salt we should eat is 6g, but on average adults eat around 8.4g – far higher. Much of this is already added to the food we buy, rather than added at home.
Just two Warburtons Gluten Free Crumpets (which have the highest salt content per standard sized crumpet) would provide over a third of an adult's maximum daily recommended allowance (6g salt) – and that’s before adding any toppings. That’s the same salt content as five and a half slices of white bread.
Solutions for salt
Reducing salt intake is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve health at a population level according to the World Health Organisation.
Action on Salt published a technical report which explained how manufacturers can reduce the amount of salt in their crumpets.
The salt in crumpets can come from both added salt (sodium chloride) and raising agents (baking powder). To reduce the salt content, it’s possible both to add less salt, and to use a low salt raising agent such as potassium bicarbonate.
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.”
Crumpets, the healthier way
Zoe Davies, Nutritionist at Action on Salt explains: "Crumpets are a popular comfort food for both adults and children. 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. Alternatively, try topping with some fruit, such as sliced banana, which will help count towards the five a day many of us aren’t achieving."
Top tips for choosing healthier crumpets:
- Be mindful of portions sizes, and how quickly salt levels add up
- Use FoodSwitch UK to help identify healthier alternatives so that you can swap to a lower salt choice
- Be minimal with toppings and try and choose those that are less salty and sugary such as:
- Unsalted butter or margarine
- Scrambled Eggs (added protein will keep you fuller for longer)
- Peanut butter (no added salt/sugar/oil) with sliced banana
- Low fat cream cheese with an apple on the side
- Sliced banana with a sprinkle of cinnamon