Unwrapped: how does your sandwich compare?

A Which? investigation, published today during National Sandwich Week, has highlighted the need for clearer front of pack nutrition labelling, including traffic lights so that consumers can easily identify healthier and less healthy choices.

The research found that you could be eating three times as much fat and double the amount of salt as the same sandwich bought elsewhere.

Researchers also found that fat and salt content varied widely and inconsistent labelling across stores meant that healthier sandwich options were not always obvious.  For example:

> Morrisons chicken salad sandwich contains 11.7g fat (amber/medium) compared with one from Waitrose which contains 6.0g fat (green/low). Waitrose uses traffic lights, Morrisons doesn’t.

> A Lidl BLT has 3.36g salt (red/high) but one from Boots has 1.5g salt (amber/medium). Boots uses traffic lights, Lidl doesn’t.

> An Aldi egg mayonnaise sandwich contains 22.3g fat (red/high) and one from Asda contains 10.1g (amber/medium). Asda uses traffic lights, Aldi doesn’t.

These results show not only is there still huge scope for some retailers to reduce the fat, saturated fat and salt content of their sandwiches, but also the need for traffic light labelling to be applied across the food industry to provide consistency and allow shoppers to make informed choices.
This week the Government launched a consultation on front of pack nutrition labelling. It is essential that it now insists that all food retailers and manufacturers adopt clear, front of pack labelling, including traffic lights, the system found to best enable consumers to easily compare products with simple green, amber, or red colour coding of nutrient levels.

Six out of the 15 retailers we compared currently include the traffic light system, but the rest still do not.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, says:

“With obesity levels reaching epidemic proportions, it’s more important than ever that consumers know exactly what they’re eating.

“Many retailers are already using traffic light labelling, but the rest need to catch up and do what works best for consumers. We want to see the Government insist that all food companies use traffic lights on their labels, so there’s a clear, consistent system that makes it easier for people to make informed choices about what they eat.”

Notes to Editors:

For a full copy of the report email meredith.barker@which.co.uk

Which? compared three types of sandwiches from 15 different retailers – Bacon, lettuce, tomato (BLT), chicken salad, and egg mayonnaise.


* Where size was not given this was calculated from the nutritional information.

Chicken Salad

* Where size was not given this was calculated from the nutritional information.

** The Co-operative was offering 50% extra free when we bought the sandwiches so we have calculated levels for a standard pack.

*** The Starbucks sandwich was Roasted Chicken with Herb Mayonnaise. There was not an equivalent in Pret a Manger for this category.


* Where size was not given this was calculated from the nutritional information.

Food Standards Agency Traffic Light Labelling Criteria:

Food Standards Agency Traffic Light Labelling Criteria

*The per portion criteria for red (high) apply for portion sizes over 100g so was taken into account when we applied traffic lights to the sandwiches which were all over this size.

Press Release: , , ,