The alarming amount of salt in supermarket breads

Published: 21 March 2017


Grabbing a loaf of bread from the supermarket might seem like the easy option, and it’s generally a common item in majority of Australian households.

You might think you’re doing the right thing by making a salad sandwich from a supermarket loaf rather than buying your lunch.

But we have bad news.

Just a single slice of “healthy” supermarket bread can contain double the average amount of salt in a packet of chips, according to a new study.

As part of a study, researchers at the George Institute for Global Health analysed almost 1500 bread products from between 2010 and 2017.

They varied from leaves, rolls, crumpets, bagels, English muffins and flat breads.

The study found some loaves contained more than one-third of our daily recommended salt intake within just two slices of bread.

According to researchers, Schwob’s Dark Rye has 1.2 grams of salt per slice which is more than a small packet of Kettles chips.

However, it was flat breads which contained the most salt on average of all of the breads analysed.

Not surprisingly, Mission’s Chapattis Garlic contained a staggering 2.3g of salt per 100g, while it’s white tortillas are thought to be the healthiest option.

Bill’s Certified Organic 100% Wholemeal Sourdough which had 0.6g salt per 100g is also thought to be one of the better options, the study found.

Lead author Clare Farrand said while salt levels in breads had dropped about 10 percent during the past seven years, there’s still room for improvement.

She argued that considering there was a huge variation between salt contents in each type of bread, there’s plenty of opportunity for producers to tailor their recipes to contain less salt.

"What Australia needs is a consistent drop in salt levels across all processed foods, not just in some breads," Ms Farrand said.

"This can only be achieved if we have comprehensive government and industry supported salt reduction targets for all product categories."

Fairfax Media reports that in 2009 the Federal Government set salt reduction targets for bread to align with the World Health Organisation’s bid to reduce salt intake.

The target was 1g of salt per 100g.

It is understood 81 percent of breads meet these targets today, compared to just 37 percent in 2010.

The figures were released are part of World Salt Awareness Week which runs until Sunday.