One of the sandwiches investigated by Which?, Subway's six-inch Meatball Marinara, contained "as much salt as nine packs of ready salted crisps".
The headline-grabbing study that delves into the £5.2bn UK sandwich industry is set to fuel the Which? campaign that is calling for nutritional information to be given on all sandwiches at point of sale.
“A sandwich might seem like a pretty healthy option, but there can be shocking amounts of salt, sugar and fat in some of them and you’d have no idea if they’re not labelled," said Martyn Hocking, Editor, Which? magazine.
On-pack nutritional information is not mandatory, although sandwiches bought for the study from supermarkets and coffee chains all did. Those from Greggs, Pret a Manger and Subway - all cited in the investigation - 'were not'.
However, along with sixteen other food outlets, Pret a Manger and Subway recently signed the Food Standard Agency's scheme to provide calorie information when eating out.
Announced earlier this month, each signatory to the FSA scheme "has agreed to display calorie information for most food and drink they serve; print calorie information on menu boards, paper menus or on the edge of shelves; and ensure the information is clear and easily visible at the point where people choose their food," said the food watchdog.
By June, more than 450 food outlets across the country are expected to have introduced calorie information, some on a pilot basis.
Chicken focus reveals fats and costs
After examining 14 different brands of chicken sandwiches, the consumer group concluded there "was no firm match between price price, the amount of chicken, or the nutritional value."
The cost differences between the 14 sandwiches "were significant" – ranging from £1.79 to £3.20.
"Our lowest-priced sandwich, Morrisons’ Deep Fill Chicken Salad (£1.79), contained the most chicken, (83g) – but only the fourth-highest amount of calories (383 kcal)," said Which?
At 495 kcal, Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference had the most calories "perhaps because its chicken was butter roasted", says Which? Pret a Manger's herb chicken and rocket sandwich contained 456 kcal – the next highest.
In contrast, Tesco's chicken salad sandwich 'ticked all the right boxes', according to the consumer group, "in terms of nutritional content, contained plenty of chicken and was a good price."
The Which? investigation revealed that at 15.2g of saturated fat, Asda's vintage cheddar ploughmans sandwich had more than 75 per cent of a woman's maximum guideline daily amount.
While a Wensleydale and carrot chutney sandwich from UK retailer M&S contained 25.5g, equivalent to more than five teaspoonfuls of sugar.