Big changes are coming to the UK food industry on the 1st of October 2022. If you’re a UK food brand or retailer selling HFSS products this may apply to you.

What Is The New HFSS Legislation?

The new HFSS legislation will see a ban on the advertising, promotion and in-store placements of food and drink products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS). This will apply across in-store settings, on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, websites and social media.

You can read the full official legislation here.

The UK government has introduced the new HFSS legislation in order to help promote healthier foods as well as tackle childhood obesity. According to the NHS, around 1 in 3 children in the UK are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese can lead to a range of health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

What Is A HFSS Product?

An HFSS product is a food or drink product that is high in fat, salt or sugar such as pizza, soft drinks, confectionary snacks and more. The specific impacted food and drinks can be found here, however, not all foods will be impacted the same.

Food and beverage products within the category are given a Nutrient Profile Score, which is based on the amount of fat, salt or sugar that it contains. The higher the score, the more restricted the food will be under the new legislation.

What Does The New HFSS Legislation Mean For Food And Retail Brands?

The new HFSS legislation will have a big impact on food and retail and convenience stores. Firstly, they will need to ensure that their advertising is compliant with the new rules that begin on 1st October 2022 although some stores may be exempt.

Store owners and retail brands will need to be careful about where they place their HFSS products in-store, as they will not be able to promote them in high-visibility areas such as store entrances, aisle ends or checkouts.

On the horizon, the government is also planning to ban multi-buy offers as well as refill offers of HFSS products, although these will be delayed until October 2023. Planned for January 2024 is the ban of TV advertising between 9 pm and 5.30 am, as well as an outright ban on digital platforms.

What Can Food & Drink Brands That Sell HFSS Products Do To Prepare?

The first step for food and drink brands that sell HFSS products is to assess which products will be impacted by the new legislation. Once you have identified your HFSS products, you need to start thinking about how you will change your marketing strategy. You may need to consider things like:

Reformulating Your Product

If your product is high in fat, salt or sugar, you may need to reformulate it to make it compliant with the new legislation. This could involve changing the recipe and using different ingredients. However, this can be risky as it may change the taste of your product, which could impact sales as well as your brand identity.

Despite this, many brands like Walkers Crisps, Capri Sun, Goodfellas and more have already followed suit to become HFSS compliant.

Reassess Your Product

You may need to reassess your HFSS food product, more specifically, how you consume it. Mr Kipling is one example of a brand changing its formula as well as portion sizes to overcome HFSS restrictions. They released a range of mini pies and tarts (smaller in portion size) to shift the perception of small sweet treats for everyday sharing and – for treating yourself to. Shift your customers away from impulse purchasing to planned purchases for special occasions instead.

Focus On Your Healthier Options

If your brand has healthier products, it may be time to turn to them as your next marketing focus instead of completely reformulating your existing products. Change up your brand’s product range to gain more opportunities.

Finding New Ways To Promote Your Product

With the new HFSS regulations, you will need to get creative with how you promote your product. In-store promotions and TV advertising will no longer be an option, so you will need to look at other channels such as social media, influencer marketing or print.

Purposeful Advertising

TV advertising is allowed, where the HFSS product is not being directly shown. This means coming up with a creative way to showcase your brand and brand values is a must for future advertising practice. Adverts that don’t actively show its products will need to be more purpose-driven, relatable and personal, for example, think John Lewis Christmas ads.

We hope this will help give you some clarity on what the new HFSS legislation means for your food and drink brand. If you need any help preparing for the changes or would like to talk about your marketing strategy, please get in touch.

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