Foods on the go that are unhealthier than a burger

The latest Which? research reveals the sandwiches and salads that have more calories and fat than burgers and a pizza.

Our research reveals that at a time when many people are trying to make healthier choices, there can be high levels of fat, sugar and salt in foods you wouldn’t always expect.

We studied eight popular lunchtime meals including sandwiches, pastas and salads from high street shops and found:

  • Caffè Nero’s Brie and Bacon Panini has more calories (624) than a McDonalds Quarter Pounder with Cheese (518 calories). The bacon and brie make the Panini high in fat (24.1g), saturates (12g) and salt (3.2g), while caramelised onions add to the sugar content (15.8g).
  • Surprisingly, three of the sandwiches we looked at all contained more than three teaspoons of sugar with Pret’s Posh Cheddar and Pickle on Artisan containing 17.6g of sugar and nearly half the daily saturated fat limit. Meanwhile the Chicken and Smoked Bacon Salad on Soft Multigrain Farmhouse Bread from Marks & Spencer’s contains 694 calories and 37.1 gram of fat, which is more than a Pizza Express Classic Margherita pizza (683 calories, 22.5g fat).
  • Asda’s Piri Piri Chicken Pasta Salad (290g) contains two thirds of the recommended daily fat intake (46.5g) and has more fat than a Burger King Bacon and Cheese Whopper. The packaging recommends the pot contains three servings, but it’s more likely that someone would eat this at lunch by themselves.
  • Morrisons’ Tomato and Basil Chicken Pasta (330g) states it contains seven servings but one person could easily eat this for lunch and would consume more calories (683) and fat (38.6g) than a Burger King Chicken Royale with Cheese (648 calories, 37.2g fat).

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: “People will be surprised to find some foods that many of us perceive to be a healthier choice are no better than a burger.

We want all manufacturers to adopt traffic light nutrition labelling and restaurants to display information about calorie content of food, so consumers can see exactly what products contain.”