How Does the HFSS Regulations Impact Product and POS?

For the last few years, discussion surrounding our health has been instrumental in our daily lives. In October of this year, the UK government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) introduced new regulations that restrict the promotion of HFSS foods as a result of growing concern over obesity rates.

The new restrictions have caused many to ask what this means for their business.


What is HFSS?

HFSS stands for High Fat, Sugar and Salt. This includes foods that score four or more points and beverages that score one or more points in the Nutrient Profiling Model.

Research has shown that price promotions in food retail are highly effective when influencing purchases. Children are among those most influenced by these advertisements, exposing them to the health risks of consuming too much unhealthy food or drink. There are strong links between the consumption of these unhealthy products and an increased risk of diet-related health issues including obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

In response to this, the UK government has implemented new restrictions on the promotion of HFSS products in an attempt to prevent prevailing health issues in the UK.

Who Does the HFSS Regulations Affect?

The new rules affect medium and large businesses with 50 or more employees. Smaller stores are exempt from the new regulations.

Online stores are also required to follow the new rules.

It is estimated that more than 500 retailers and 1500 suppliers will need to assess their product ranges and promotions to ensure they comply.  

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What Will be Restricted?

Volume price promotions are no longer permitted on HFSS products. This includes offers such as ‘Buy One Get One Free’ and other multibuy savings. These advertisements offer a financial incentive to buy higher volumes of unhealthy items and are therefore promoting unsafe lifestyles.

Display locations are also being scrutinised. Stores will no longer be allowed to place unhealthy foods in key locations including store entrances, aisle ends and checkouts. Businesses will be required to refresh their POS (point of sale) as HFSS foods and drinks are no longer permitted within 2m of tills.

Brands that operate an online shopping system will also have to make changes. HFSS products are no longer allowed to be advertised on home pages or checkout pages. 

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What Does This Mean for the Future of Food Marketing in the UK?

The FSA will continue to monitor dietary habits now that the restrictions are in effect to see if any further measures need to be taken.

The new restrictions will put pressure on manufacturers and retailers to find new ways to promote their products. Although consumers may be unsure about these changes to begin with, if brands can focus on making healthier products more appealing and tastier, customer satisfaction levels are sure to rise again.

The health benefits that will arise as a result of these restrictions will influence many to make a change. Let’s hope the new regulations see a positive shift in our nation’s attitude towards health.


If you have any concerns or questions regarding your packaging and would like some advice, get in touch with our team today!