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Action on Salt


Embargoed until 00.01 – Wednesday 21 December 2016

Warburtons heavily advertised ‘Giant Crumpet’ contains more salt than 3 bags of ready salted crisps [1]
• Extraordinarily, the Warburtons Giant Crumpet contains twice the concentration of salt compared to Waitrose crumpets (1.48g per 100g vs 0.75g per 100g), showing that the salt can easily be reduced
• Almost half (48%) exceeded the Responsibility Deal 2017 average salt targets for crumpets of 1.13g salt per 100g – which is the same as the salt target for sausages [2]!
• CASH is urging retailers and food manufacturers to meet the government’s salt reduction targets by December 2017, to achieve the public health goal of consuming no more than 6g salt per person per day (just over 1 tsp salt per person/day)

Crumpets Survey 2016 - Full data [PDF 220KB]

For Media Coverage: Crumpets survey media coverage

A NEW survey by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), based at Queen Mary University of London, has revealed the alarmingly high levels of salt found in popular branded and supermarket own brand crumpets – providing evidence that the Public Health Responsibility Deal Salt Reduction 2017 targets, set up by the government, are not being addressed. With just twelve months to go for ALL retailers and food manufacturers to meet ALL the targets, CASH is calling for immediate action.

Warburtons range of crumpets were the worst offenders - the highest being Warburtons Giant Crumpets with 1.48g salt per 100g, or 1.55g salt per crumpet – more salt than in three packets of ready salted crisps and over a quarter of the Reference Intake (RI) (the recommended daily maximum) for salt for adults in just one crumpet [3] – and that’s without any topping.

Of the 27 crumpets included in the survey, 13 (48%) exceeded the Responsibility Deal average salt target for 2017 of 1.13g salt per 100g, which is the same as the average salt target for sausages [2], meaning many crumpets are saltier than sausages by concentration [4]! Meanwhile, 7 products included in the survey (26%) exceeded the maximum salt target for 2017 of 1.25g salt per 100g. The 2017 target for crumpets was inexplicably raised from the 2012 target and our results clearly show that crumpets can be made with much lower salt than this (see data table).

The average salt level per crumpet was 0.62g, which is nearly the same amount of salt as one and a half packets of ready salted crisps.  Interestingly, salt levels in branded crumpets were much higher on average (1.31g/100g) compared to supermarket own label crumpets (1.10/100g) – with gluten free crumpets, on average, saltier than normal crumpets (1.33g/100g vs 1.13g/100g) – a difference of 15%.

Waitrose Deep and Delicious Buttermilk Crumpets and Essential Waitrose Crumpets (0.75g salt per 100g), contained HALF the amount of salt per 100g as the Warburtons crumpets.   

Crumpets often contain both added salt (NaCl) and a raising agent such as baking powder or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), both of which contain sodium. However there are two major alternatives to sodium bicarbonate available at a commercial level, either ammonium carbonate or potassium bicarbonate, making it relatively easy to reduce the sodium content of crumpets. At the same time, manufacturers can also reduce the salt levels, making further reductions possible.

Crumpets with the highest amount of salt per 100g include:

Brand/Product Salt per 100g Salt per serving Serving size (1 crumpet/pikelet)
Warburtons 2 Giant Crumpets 1.48g 1.55g 105g
Warburtons 6 Crumpets 1.48g 0.81g 55g
Warburtons Newburn Bakehouse Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Milk Free 4 Crumpets 1.43g 1.04g 73g
Marks & Spencer Made Without Wheat Gluten Free Crumpets 1.40g 0.70g 50g
Tesco Pikelets 1.40g 0.40g 26g

Crumpets with the lowest amount of salt per 100g include:

Brand/Product Salt per 100g Salt per serving Serving size (1 crumpet)
Essential Waitrose 8 Crumpets 0.75g 0.39g Not provided
Waitrose 6 Deep & Delicious Buttermilk Crumpets 0.75g 0.48g Not provided
Hovis 9 Fluffy Crumpets 0.91g 0.52g 57g
Morrisons Crumpets 8 Pack 0.97g 0.49g Not provided
Aldi The Village Bakery 6 Crumpets 1.00g 0.47g 46g

Katharine Jenner, Nutritionist and Campaign Director for CASH explains, “Salt reduction has been recognised as a public health priority for a number of years, so responsible manufacturers know they should be reducing salt in their foods.  If they can’t just stop adding salt to their recipes, they can try sodium free baking powders, such as potassium bicarbonate, instead of sodium bicarbonate [5], in baked goods. It’s shocking that certain brands of crumpets still contain more salt than 3 bags of ready salted crisps. It’s imperative that retailers, food manufacturers and the out of home catering sector work much harder to help us achieve the public health goal of consuming no more than 6g salt per person per day.”

Sarah Alderton, Nutritionist at CASH adds, “People may consider crumpets to be a healthy breakfast or teatime treat, yet many contain unnecessary amounts of salt. Most people often eat two or more crumpets as part of a meal and if they then add a salty topping such as cheese or a yeast extract, this could equate to more than a third of an adult’s Reference Intake (RI) of salt being consumed [6,7].

Similarly, crumpets are sometimes a popular choice for kids but have the potential to make a significant contribution towards their Reference Intake (RI). For example, just one Warburtons Giant Crumpet equates to 1.55g salt which is already 31% of the RI for salt for a child aged 7-10 years, and over half (52%) of the RI for a child aged 4-6 years [8], and that’s without any topping!

Professor Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Chairman of CASH says: “Reducing salt is the most cost effective measure to lower blood pressure and reduce the number of people suffering from strokes and heart disease – one of the commonest causes of death in the UK.  Salt reduction targets have been set for manufacturers to reach before the end of 2017, and if some companies (e.g. Warburtons) don’t achieve them, we must regulate the targets to ensure a level playing field, as requested by many of the supermarkets and British Retail Consortium.

Top tips for choosing healthier crumpets and alternatives
• Stick to the recommended portion size of one crumpet and do some comparisons when you shop to see which has the least salt – our survey found own brand tend to be less salty than branded crumpets. The FoodSwitch UK App can help identify healthier alternatives so that you can swap to a lower salt choice!
• Be minimal with toppings and choose those that are less salty and fatty – instead of yeast extract or grated cheese, choose a reduced fat cheese spread, have it plain with just a small amount of low fat spread, or for a healthy meal idea top with scrambled or poached egg, or a thin layer of peanut butter and sliced banana.
• For those following a gluten-free diet, check the labels of similar gluten-free alternatives that might be lower in salt, for example bagels or toasting muffins.


National PR – David Clarke: M: 07773 225516

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Notes to editors:

i Data was collected for 27 crumpets (including pikelets[ii]) where nutritional information was available on packaging or websites for per 100g or per portion.  Data was collected by visiting all the main supermarkets Aldi, ASDA, The Co-operative, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s & Waitrose in October 2016.  Data for products not found in supermarkets during the visit were collected via the retailer’s website. Nutrient information per portion was calculated from per 100g data where not quoted on pack.
ii A pikelet is a regional variant of a crumpet which is not cooked in a ring mould and hence is thinner and flatter than a crumpet [9].

REF 1. Warburtons Giant Crumpets contain 1.55g salt per crumpet. A 32.5g bag of Walkers Ready Salted crisps contains 0.46g salt (8% of the Reference Intake for adults)  21 of 27 (78%) products surveyed contained the same amount or more salt than this per crumpet.
REF 2. The average 2017 salt target for all powder raised morning goods (which includes crumpets) is 1.13g salt per 100g The 2017 target was actually an increase on the 2012 salt reduction target of 0.75g salt per 100g, as it was considered hard to reach, yet Waitrose have already demonstrated that 0.75g/100g is achievable.  The 2017 average salt target for sausages is also 1.13g salt per 100g.
REF 3. Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day
REF 4. Tesco Finest 10 Traditional Pork Sausages contain 1.1g salt per 2 grilled sausages (110g)
REF 5. Potassium bicarbonate is an alternative raising agent to sodium bicarbonate and is used as a raising agent in 7 of the 27 products included in the survey including   
REF 6. Sainsbury’s Mature Cheddar Cheese contains 0.54g salt per 30g serving If combined with 2 Warburtons crumpets this equals 2.16g salt consumed in total, 36% of the Reference Intake for salt for adults.
REF 7. Marmite contains 0.39g salt per 4g portion Assuming 2 x 4g portions are applied for 2 Warburtons crumpets, this would equal 2.40g salt consumed in total, 40% of the Reference Intake for salt for adults.
REF 8. The daily recommended maximum amount of salt for children aged 4-6 years is 3g/day and for 7-10 years is 5g/day
REF 9.

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