➔ Some stock cubes are made of 50% salt - nearly a teaspoon of salt per cube 
➔ The labels are confusing and complicated - hiding the true salt levels 
➔ 87% of stocks and 99% of gravies would receive an amber or red traffic light for salt content 
➔ Less than half of gravy products would meet the department of health's recommended targets 

Almost every Christmas meal will have been cooked using stock and poured over with gravy. During the busy festive season, we all appreciate a helping hand from ready-made stock and gravy, but how much could they affecting our health? A recent survey of over 237 stock and gravy products from the major supermarket chains found that out of the 102 stocks tested, only 13 products would be given a green traffic light for salt [3] - some products, including Aldi Quixo Beef Stock Cubes and Kallo Yeast Free Organic Vegetable Stock Cube were made up of 50% salt, containing 5g salt per cube (a teaspoon is approx. 6g).

The survey also found that the amount of salt per stock cube is rarely declared on the label, making it very difficult to work out how much salt we are actually consuming.  

High examples of Stocks (salt per cube calculated from data provided on pack):
1. Aldi Quixo Beef Stock Cubes, 5.09g salt per cube
2. Kallo Yeast Free Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes, 5.0g salt per cube
3. Asda Beef Stock, 5g salt per 500g packet (fresh)
4. Knorr Fish Stock Pots, 4.66g salt per pot
5. Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes, 4.5g salt per cube

Out of 135 gravies tested, 99% would receive an ‘amber’ or ‘red’ traffic light for salt content and could needlessly add nearly a gram of salt to your meal.

High examples of Gravies (per 100ml as consumed);
1. Bisto Original Gravy Powder, 1.66g salt
2. Bisto Best Vegetable Gravy, 1.58g salt
3. Bisto Best Caramelised Onion Gravy, 1.58g salt
4. Colman’s Instant Chicken Gravy, 1.42g salt
5. Knorr Gravy Pot Chicken Gravy, 1.4g salt

CASH Nutritionist Kawther Hashem provides some tips on cooking with less salty stock and eating less salty gravy:
What can you do?
• Compare nutrition labels and choose the lower salt options, less than 0.4 per 100ml for stock and less than 0.5 per 100ml for gravy
• Choose a pour over ready-made stocks and gravies as they tend to be lower in salt than stock cubes or gravy granules, but always compare the labels and choose the lower salt option
• Replace your regular stock or gravy with ‘low salt’ or ‘reduced salt’ varieties. Many are available, and if your local supermarket doesn’t stock it, make a request!
• Try using less gravy on your Christmas dinner, or dilute it with more water than the instructions suggest.
• Homemade stock and gravy is easy to make. Try making your own this Christmas, using herbs, spices, lemon, pepper, garlic and onion instead of salt.
• Check out our recipe section for recipes on low salt stock and gravy!