They might promise gourmet food in less than five minutes, but supermarket 'luxury range' ready meals can contain up to twice as much fat, sugar and salt as their cheaper counterparts
The news comes from researchers at Glasgow University, who say these meals should be labelled as 'damaging' due to their shockingly unhealthy ingredients.
The academics analysed a range of ready meals produced by Britain's top five supermarket chains and found that consumers are effectively paying more money for less nutritious food.
- Sainsbury's 'taste the difference' beef lasagne contains 77% of an adult's daily recommended intake of saturated fat. That's double the amount of saturated fat found in its cheaper 'basics' counterpart, which only contains 36% of the daily allowance.
- Tesco's 'finest' cottage pie contained 39% of an adult's saturated fat allowance, whereas the 'value' version contained only 18% and half the amount of salt.
- Asda's 'extra special' macaroni cheese contained 114% of an adult's recommended daily intake of saturated fat, whereas the cheaper 'smart price' brand contained a far healthier 48%.
Mike Lean, chair of human nutrition at Glasgow University, said: “A meal that contains 140% of GDA contains the amount that should be spread over at least five meals, more than a day’s food. That is shocking."
He claimed that politicians and consumer organisations should be rallying together to demand that supermarkets change their 'luxury range' labelling to 'damaging'.
Sainsbury's has defended itself by insisting it advocates healthy eating by being the first to introduce traffic light labelling showing salt, sugar and fat content.
An Asda spokesman has said its 'extra special' range is indulgent by nature, setting it apart from their healthier ranges which contain far lower levels of fat, salt and sugar.
For information on daily recommended allowances, please visit our Balanced Diet page.
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