Heads Up #3: HFSS: Answering the Why

In this article, we explore the impact new High Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) legislation will have on food categories in the next 12 months.

First, let’s start with a list of categories that will be affected by high-fat sugar and salt legislation.

Prepacked food and drink in the following categories will be in the scope of the restrictions: soft drinks, cakes, chocolate confectionery, sugar confectionery, ice cream, morning goods (for example pastries), puddings, sweet biscuits, breakfast cereals, yoghurts, milk-based drinks with added sugar, juice-based drinks with added sugar, pizza, ready meals, meal centres, including breaded and battered products, crisps and savoury snacks, chips and similar potato products.

The restrictions will also apply to free refills of sugar-sweetened drinks in the out-of-home sector (for example restaurants, coffee shops etc). (Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/restricting-promotions-of-food-and-drink-that-is-high-in-fat-sugar-and-salt/outcome/restricting-promotions-of-products-high-in-fat-sugar-and-salt-by-location-and-by-price-government-response-to-public-consultation#table-1)

The legislation concerns promotions and location of these categories in store. Multibuys are no longer allowed and the categories cannot be located on gondola end, at tills or front of store (and online equivalent locations).

A Government advisory note updated 18th December 2020 confirms that:

“the government has made it clear that helping people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important things we can do to improve our nation’s health”.

This is driven by three factors:

1.    Obesity is associated with a reduced life expectancy

2.    There is an increased risk factor for a range of chronic diseases

3.    There is now evidence that people who are overweight or living with obesity are at greater risk of being seriously ill and dying from Covid-19.

“The government further underlines that legislation introduced will support the nation in reducing overweight and obesity and help change attitude and drivers around food and exercise. There is evidence that tackling obesity requires a ride range of interventions that cover both our diet and our physical activity and that everyone has a role to play.”

And as many will contest once we are through this pandemic the nation will need to become fitter.

So how will this legislation impact upon brands, consumers, shoppers, and customers? Luckily the government has answered that question for us in the form of a sporting future strategy. This program will be introduced to ensure that everyone has opportunities to be active for both their physical and mental well-being.

There are decades of evidence that confirms what we consume impacts on how we think and move and ultimately live. It would appear that the government is wanting to join the dots and provide a holistic approach for mental well-being and physical activity in the years to come.

So how can the brand and category participate? Through the adoption of the strategy that acknowledges the legislation but still delivers for consumers/shoppers/customers.

Some considerations:

  • NPD – how do you create awareness and encourage trial?
  • How do we drive volume usually achieved from a secondary display?
  • How do you increase awareness of your brand without the opportunity afforded by a secondary display?
  • How do you disrupt instore/online behaviours?
  • How do we drive traffic to the fixture?
  • How do we ensure that when on price promotion, there is enough stock in-store to cover demand?
  • What will be the impact on range?
  • What are customers going to do to replace funds paid for secondary display?

If you would like some help in answering these questions, get in touch. We would love to help.