Soup survey reveals that some soups are still full of it

26th February 2010

  • Some soups contain large amounts of hidden salt
  • Popular soup brands are lagging behind in salt reduction
  • 1 in 4 soups still fail to meet the Food Standards Agency salt targets for soup

Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) surveyed soups from the seven major UK retailers; Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury's Waitrose, Somerfield/Co-operative, Marks & Spencer, and Morrisons (branded and supermarket own brand products)  as well as café style soups from the larger cafes EAT, Pret A Manger and Caffe Nero. 575 products in total were looked at including fresh/chilled, ready to eat (canned and pouches) and café style soups. 

Many people still think that salt is highest in products such as crisps and ready meals. However, this survey shows that high levels can be found in soup, something that many of us would consider a healthy option for our lunch. A surprising 99% of the surveyed soups actually contain more salt than a packet of crisps*.  

Although soups are often labelled with nutritional information for a recommended portion size, it is important to note that a portion is usually considered half a tin/pot/carton, and therefore you may actually be consuming even more salt than you think!

Furthermore, soup is often eaten with bread, which is the highest contributor of salt to our diet. On average, 2 slices of bread contains 0.8g of salt. Combine this with soup which contains an average of 1.3g salt (although can range from 0.44g – 8.0g), and you have had 2.1g of salt, more than one third of the maximum recommendation, just from that one ‘healthy’ lunch!

This survey emphasises just how important it is to check labels when shopping to determine the salt content of a portion that you will realistically consume. Many products which appear to be similar in flavour can actually be very different in salt content meaning that guessing simply isn’t an option.

Some examples of simple swaps to reduce salt intake

Higher Example
Salt/ portionLower ExampleSalt/ portionDifference (g)
Batchelors Soupfulls Classic Beef & Vegetable3.0ASDA Chilli Beef Mighty Soup1.11.9
EAT Bold Thai Green Chicken Curry (small – 12 oz.)2.815Pret A Manger Malaysian  Chicken Soup1.01.815
Glorious! Moroccan Tomato & Chickpea2.1Tideford Organics Moroccan Vegetable0.441.66
The Yorkshire Provender Onion soup with Hambleton Ale and Mustard2.31Waitrose French Onion & Cider0.761.55
EAT Simple Creamy Chicken
(small – (12 oz.)
2.4Tesco Cream of Chicken Soup0.81.6
Heinz Taste of Home Lancashire Lamb Hotpot soup2.6Baxters Chunky Lamb Casserole1.01.6
Batchelors Express Soupfulls Mediterranean Tomato & Vegetable1.5Sainsbury’s Cream of Tomato & Red Pepper0.51.0
Baxters Favourites Lentil & Bacon1.2Sainsbury’s British Pea & Ham Soup0.680.52

Better still, making your own soups at home can be simple, fun, and should also mean that your meal is lower in salt. We’ve developed a couple of simple, tasty low salt recipes for soup which can be easily adapted to make your favourite soup!

See also:


* A 34.5g packet of Walkers ready salted crisps contains 0.5g salt/bag