Say cheese: researchers urge for less salt in the British food staple

Analysis of UK’s top cheeses shows high salt content among most – with plant-based cheese being the worst culprit. 



The average suggested portion of cheddar contains more salt than a bag of crisps, researchers find

There have been minimal reductions to the salt content of cheese over the last decade, according to new research by Action on Salt.

The researchers assessed the salt content of more than 600 cheeses across 10 UK retailers and found that plant-based cheeses generally have the highest level of salt – almost 10% more than cheddar.

They also found that the average suggested portion of cheddar cheese contains more salt than a packet of crisps. The cheddar with the highest salt content was Asda’s 30% Less Fat Mature British Cheese, which contains 2g of salt per 100g.

The researchers – whose analysis included Caerphilly, Cheddar, Cheshire, Double Gloucester, Lancashire, Red Leicester, string cheese, and Wensleydale cheeses, as well as plant-based alternatives – found a six-fold difference in salt content across all the cheese they analysed. They say this highlights that salt in such high amounts is unnecessary, and reducing the salt content of these cheeses is achievable.

Action on Salt is now urging the government to set more stringent, mandatory salt reduction targets beyond this year, and says it’s vital that more efforts are made to reduce the salt content across these cheeses.

“We know that a diet high in salt is a major risk factor for high blood pressure and that reducing our salt intake can help with this,” says Professor Graham MacGregor, Chair of Blood Pressure UK.

“But this research highlights how just one staple ingredient can contribute to a higher-than-average salt intake. We hope that the government and retailers pay attention to this important work from Action on Salt and take meaningful action.”