VEGAN products such as Greggs’s best-selling no-sausage roll are not healthy just because they are meat-free, a consumer watchdog has warned.
Which? found many seemingly ‘virtuous’ vegan snacks are factory-made, with fat, sugar or salt plus anti-oxidants, stabilisers and preservatives.
‘These are ultra-processed foods with a “health halo” you might perceive to be healthy but aren’t as good for you as you might think,’ Which? said.
Researchers who tested five products found the Greggs vegan sausage roll is hardly healthier than the meat version.
‘One portion contains almost half the saturated fat an adult should eat in a day and a third of adults’ maximum recommended salt intake,’ they said.
Other ‘health halo’ foods included the Beyond Burger, which has more calories, fat and salt per 100g than a Tesco Finest beef burger.
The report said the Eat Natural almond and apricot yogurt-coated fruit and nut bar is high in sugar, fat and saturated fat. And the Bounce dark chocolate protein energy ball contains brown rice syrup, which is ‘basically sugar’.
One ball has a third of the daily recommended sugar dose.
Coconut Collaborative dairy-free coconut yogurt was found to have 9.8g of saturated fat and 1.2g of protein per 100g — versus 2.6g of saturated fat and 5.2g protein for dairy yogurt.
Which? pointed out that other ultra-processed foods — such as Heinz Baked Beans, Alpen no added sugar muesli and Warburtons wholemeal bread — really are healthy, with added calcium and iron and low sugar and fat levels.