What is the HFSS Legislation which will be in place by April 2022?

The United Kingdom has introduced legislation that will restrict special reduced-price offers on foods with high fat, sugar, and/or salt (HFSS) content. The new guidelines revolve around the way HFSS foods are advertised and promoted by FMCG brands and retailers. The legislation will also ban free refills for soft drinks.

man using soft drink refill machine

Program goals

To reduce sugar intake and obesity rates in the country.

How it works

The exact implementation and enforcement of the policy has not yet been finalized. However, as it is proposed currently, the legislation will affect price promotions, in-store product location, and online locations of foods high in fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS).

HFSS foods are defined as foods scoring four points or higher and beverages scoring one or higher in the 2004-2005 Nutrient Profiling Model. Examples include soft drinks, drinks with added sugars, cakes, candies, cereals, pastries, ice cream, pizza, chips, and prepared meals.

Restrictions will be placed on “buy one get one free” or “three for the price of two” price promotions for these products, and free refills on soft drinks will not be allowed.

buy one get one free advertisement

HFSS foods may not be placed in checkout aisles, at the ends of store aisles, or in store entrances. Similarly, online shopping sites may not advertise HFSS foods on their homepage or pages where customers view their online cart to check out.

Price promotion exemptions will be made for businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and product placement exemptions will be made for businesses with fewer than 50 employees as well as stores smaller than 2,000 square feet and specialty stores such as bakeries and chocolatiers. New regulation includes a ban on television adverts before the 9pm watershed, the elimination of volume promotions, and the removal of unhealthy items from prominent in-store locations such as gondola ends and checkouts.

Many FMCG brands are at risk of being impacted by this campaign.

How are Brands reacting?

Our clients are looking how to be ruthless in achieving market share, and the first step is to introduce new, healthier products for sale.

This is not always possible, especially in a world where the target HFSS products are not going to change, so its more of a cultural piece to be able to continue integrating these products but create understanding of their place in our diet.

Short term solutions include placing in store where allowed, complementing similar foods (i.e chocolate in with Beer, Wines and Spirits) which improves Impulse Purchases.

Brands are now looking to expand further in smaller outlets, which means more potential for multiple locations in store, so a suite of displays offered, including Counter Display Units, and more Free standing Displays.

healthy products store

How are ImpulsePOP reacting?

The Retail industry is rightly being forced to rethink the Impulse purchase process, which filters down to what ImpulsePOP are being briefed on regarding new display campaigns in store.

Where we would be concentrating on Aisle end and Till-point promotions, we are now being challenged with finding new ways to enhance offers within the grocery aisle areas.

Lately, we have been adapting Free-Standing Display solutions, which enable easy branding switches, and work in different areas within the retail area.

Shelf front solutions are popular, and here we use our extensive experience in adapting to different fixtures in store, and accommodating existing pricing / POS systems, so we enhance rather than block areas in store.

We are working with a number of brands currently, who are keen to be “early adopters” in this campaign. This forward thinking is key in future proofing any Display Stands in store.

The grocery sector is worst hit, due to the square footage, so our work is cut out to enhance brand awareness and product placement in these environments. This is countered with the strong sustainability considerations, which ImpulsePOP will always advocate, reducing use of plastic and big C02 creaters.

We are seeing the greatest challenge is Impulse Purchase – we are constantly exploring new opportunities to facilitate this. We work in the Sports Nutrition area, and the rules are a little vague as to how this sector will be affected, as some products will not comply due to the enhancement aspect. But one client has chosen to create a bigger presence using a Freestanding Display Unit (FSDU) in smaller outlets.

HIGH5 FSDU Sports Nutrition display
HIGH5 FSDU Sports Nutrition display

We must consider the reasoning behind the legislation, so in order to adapt our Psychology around these “Treat” foods that we all love, the way the brands are portrayed must change too.

Please consult ImpulsePOP for your next campaign, contact details are here.


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