The Campaign for Real Salad: Reducing Food Waste

Tesco has been in the news this week for publishing its food waste figures for the first time. Now when they tell us that nearly 30000 tonnes of food went to waste in the first six months of this year alone, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Campaign for Real Salad petition has little relevance. But actually I think it’s all sides of the same coin. These are small changes that could be made to improve our environment and our health. Tesco are already saying that they will look to reduce the size of their bagged salads to help avoid waste. (Which is very generous of them. I’m sure the price of this smaller portion will be commensurately lower?) I am suggesting that prepared salads should come with less dressing to avoid waste and cut down on needless fat and calories.

Which brings me to one of the worst culprits. You all know it. The Caesar salad. That dressing is a diet killer and the supermarkets are giving us WAY too much of it.

Tesco‘s creamy caesar salad kit. 22% dressing – 63.14g of dressing. 

Half a pack (the recommended serving on the website) contains 190kcals, 3.9g sugar, 14.5g fat and 2.3g sat fat.

That’s 0.5g fat more than a serving of McDonalds chicken nuggets and only 60 calories less. For half of this bag of salad.

Asda’s offering, Caesar salad kit is 23% dressing, so that’s 49.45g of dressing – less than the Tesco but a similar proportion as their salad is smaller.

Online, the nutritional info is only given per 100g and does not give a recommended serving size. For fairness, I’m assuming half a pack, same as Tesco, although this pack is 215g overall, so would be a smaller serving.

So, my maths gives us a nutritional value per serving of 196kcals and 15.5g of fat. There is no info available for the sugar content or the saturated fat breakdown. So you would have less salad than you get in a bag from Tesco, but you’re having 1.5g fat more than a serving of chicken nuggets and only 54 calories less.

Sainsbury’s equivalent Caesar salad is a similar proportion again, 23% dressing, that’s 61g in real terms. Per half a pack you get 223kcals, 3g of sugar, an eye watering 17.6g of fat of which 2.4g is saturated fat.

Therefore, half a pack of their salad is only 27 calories less than a serving of chicken nuggets, but 3.6g of fat more than those little golden brown, deep fried goodies.

In fairness to Sainsbury’s, they also offer a Be Good to Yourself version for the same price as the full fat option which is 143kcals per half pack and 8.4g of fat (still 12% of your daily recommended fat intake). But why is this not just the only option? Why offer a salad where one half a bag will give you a quarter of your total fat intake for the day at all? Why not offer a Caesar salad with just 30g of dressing per bag, or 20g even and slash the nutritional damage. We can all agree that the lettuce isn’t causing us any problems, so it’s got to be the dressings, the croutons, the parmesan.

If you’re not happy with these figures, why not sign the petition and I’ll try and get something done about it.

Alternatively, swerve the supermarkets altogether and try this great recipe from Channel 4’s Cook Yourself Thin instead.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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