Research shows that plant-based sausages, meatballs, and other meat alternatives are frequently high in salt.
Vegan and vegetarian products are seen as having a ‘health halo’, but their salt levels breached government guidelines, a study found.
More than 75 per cent of the products analysed failed to meet the Government’s salt reduction targets.
Queen Mary University of London’s researchers evaluated 207 meat-based plant products against 226 meat product.
M&S Food Plant Kitchen No Chicken Kievs had one of the highest salt levels in the study at 1.78g per 100g, with a total salt portion of 2.49g
Queen Mary University researchers analysed how salty vegetarian processed foods were.
They found plant-based meat to have fewer calories, total and saturated fat and more fibre than meat equivalents, the research backed by Action on Salt said.
Their salt content was higher than the meat of five of six product types.
Only two of the plant-based products would be considered low in salt (less than 0.3g of salt per 100g), compared with 45 meat products.
The plant-based alternatives included Linda McCartney vegetarian meatballs, M&S plant-based chicken kievs, Quorn Best of British sausages, as well as products by Waitrose, Birds Eye, Co-op, Richmond and the Vegetarian Butcher.
Linda McCartney’s vegetarian meatballs contained 1.7g per 100g. This is far more than the safe limit of 0.3% per 100g.
Study co-author Professor Graham MacGregor told the journal Nutrients: ‘Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to lower blood pressure, reduce health inequalities and prevent people from dying unnecessarily.
‘The Government put the food industry in charge of public health at the public’s expense.
‘The time has now come to take back control and force the industry to act more responsibly.’