by Amelia Harray, Dietitian

Last year, LiveLighter analysed 49 different types of BBQ sausages available at two major supermarket chains in the Perth metro area for the proportion of meat, energy (kJ) content, saturated fat, sodium (salt) and price. LiveLighter Dietitian Amelia featured on Today Tonight talking about the results.

Sausages varied in the proportion and quality of meat, nutritional value and price and, despite claims that a product was healthier such as 'gluten free' or 'no added hormone beef', the results show that all can be classified as ‘junk food’.

What we found

Meat content 

  • The proportion of meat varied from 69% - 90%. Most sausages analysed contained approximately 72% meat.

  • Wheat flour, tapioca starch, maize flour, soy protein, rice flour or potato starch were often added to bulk out the sausages.

  • Many contained flavours, colours, preservative and added sulphites.

  • A few contained added vegetables.

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Saturated fat  

  • Only 14% of sausages (7 of the 49) were within healthy limits of saturated fat, namely chicken and kangaroo sausages.
  • Five types contained over 10g of saturated fat per 100g.
  • Woolworths Market Value thin beef sausages contained the highest amount of saturated fat (11g/100g)
  • The consumption of saturated fat is associated with heart disease risk. AIM for less than 3g of saturated fat per 100g. 
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Sodium/ salt

  • 96% of the sausages surveyed contained more salt than the recommended guidelines.
  • Only 2 of the 49 types of sausages surveyed (Mt Barker Country Chicken Sausage and Gourmet Game Macro Meats Kanga Bangas) fit the guidelines of less than 400mg of sodium per 100g.
  • Coles BBQ beef sausages contained the highest amount of sodium (not including frankfurts). An adult would have more than the total daily recommendation for salt if they consumed just over 2 Coles Thick BBQ Beef Sausages
  • Regular intake of foods high in salt is associated with risk of heart disease and stroke. AIM for less than 400mg of sodium per 100g. 
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Price ($AUD) 

  • The price of sausages analysed varied from $0.31 to $1.79 per sausage. 
  • The cheapest sausages were the Woolworths Market Value thin beef sausages ($0.44 per 100g). These also had the highest amount of saturated fat.
  • The most expensive sausages were Created with Jamie Classic Cumberland Pork Sausages and Peppercorn Extra Lean Beef Sausages both ($1.89 per 100g). 

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Frankfurts and hot dogs 

  • 13 frankfurts or hotdogs were available and included in our analysis.
  • No frankfurts or hotdogs available had acceptable amounts of saturated fat or salt.
  • All contained excessive amounts of salt ranging from 927mg – 1400mg per 100g and some contained as little as 66% meat.

LiveLighter's Top BBQ Tips

Summer BBQ's are a great opportunity to offer a range of healthier alternatives. Lean meats, vegetables and even fruit can be barbecued and help to add to your 5 veg and 2 fruit for the day.

chargrilled vegetables with salsa verde

  • Replace sausages with steak, chicken or rissoles on the BBQ  
  • Go for a chicken or kangaroo sausage or ask your local butcher for fresh meat sausages 
  • Choose wholemeal or multigrain rolls and bread for hot dogs
  • Add easy to handle vegies to the BBQ, such as corn, capsicum quarters, veg skewers 
  • Add a salad to your plate 
  • Limit junk foods to occasionally and in small amounts 
  • Have healthy dips with veg sticks for people to snack on 
  • Replace soft drinks with water (sparkling, still or fancy)  
  • Replace crisps with homemade popcorn 
  • Get moving by starting a game of footy, cricket or even a dance-off!

The great Aussie BBQ doesn’t need to revolve around the snag. Consider healthier alternatives when you serve up your BBQ feast this summer!

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