Traffic light labels ideal for barbecue foodShoppers need better nutritional information

05 July 2007

 

Different labelling makes it hard to compare fat, saturates and salt in barbecue favourites like sausages and burgers, Which? says today.

But traffic light labelling can help people make an informed choice at a glance.

We checked the meat content, ingredients and nutritional value of a range of sausages and burgers from the main supermarkets and brands, and applied the traffic light labelling scheme recommended by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Fat and salt levels

It found that:

  • levels of fat per 100g were 12 times higher in Morrisons frozen thick pork sausages than in Morrisons Eat Smart fresh pork sausages
  • levels of saturates per 100g were 16 times higher in Richmond Irish recipe thick fresh sausages than in Morrisons Eat Smart fresh pork sausages.
  • not all of the ‘healthy-range’ products Which? analysed avoided red lights – Morrisons Eat Smart frozen pork sausages get a red light for saturated fat
  • nutritional content varied between fresh and frozen versions of the same product - Tesco’s frozen Healthy Living thick pork sausages had four times the fat of the fresh equivalent per 100g
  • the lowest meat content was Tesco Value frozen sausages at just 30 per cent. They also contained chicken skin and fat, pork fat, beef fat and connective tissue
  • most burgers contained more than the legal minimum meat content, but some had fillers such as rusk, added water, sugar or extra beef fat.

Which? Editor Neil Fowler said: ‘Sausages and burgers are exactly the kind of products that the FSA’s traffic light labelling was designed for, as they're really difficult for shoppers to judge.

‘Some retailers and manufacturers have adopted traffic lights, so you can check the packaging and compare products at a glance. If your supermarket hasn't ask them why not.’