High Fats, Sugar and Salt Legislation is Looming – What’s the Impact for Brands?

With the HFSS legislation looming – How will the high fat, sugar and salt legislation impact sales and brand awareness – and what can Mirror do to help?
New legislation is only a matter of months away (October 2022). The impact will be high when it comes to selling any HFSS product from a financial, visual and logistic perspective.
The key restrictions include – retailers being unable to offer HFSS products on promotions such as ‘BOGOF’ and ‘3for2’ offers. These products cannot be sited in some of the key prime positionings in store – such as the store entrance, promotional gondola ends or at till points. This is causing a headache for many, many brands as the HFSS product list is vast. We are not simply talking sweets, confectionery, crisps and chocolates… The hidden sugars and salts lurking in so many products will mean that they will be affected too! including cakes, biscuits, cereals, yoghurts, smoothies, ready meals, savoury snacks, food to go, ice cream, puddings, sauces and lots more.
The legislation has a valuable environmental, economic and moral purpose… obesity in the UK and the rest of the world is rising and is impacting all aspects of life including our health services and schools. The covid pandemic has further demonstrated the need to reduce obesity and the need for healthier and better-educated consumers around food consumption.

The good news is some brands are adapting and reformulating their products to work with the restrictions, others are reducing product lines focussing on key SKU’s as space on the main fixture shelf will be limited.
Interestingly, Kind Snacks – renowned for its healthy snack bars has had to make some HFSS reductions. Cereal king Kellogg’s has opted to cut the sugar in children’s cereal by 10% by end of 2022 and is also reducing the salt content.

Navigating, to get the best results…

On-shelf displays and promotions are still options, these will need to be on the category aisle and not the larger (more impactful) offer aisles we are used to. We envisage seeing the rise of consumer competitions and experiences… to entice customers to purchase. So more Point of Sale on the shelf in the category aisle would be a great idea to draw in the consumer. Mirror can certainly help you with this in store!
Using the HFSS as a promotional positive is a great awareness tool. Those brands going above and beyond in becoming HFSS compliant will definitely get ‘top points’ from consumers… but will also earn favour with retailers. Retailers want to have ‘Beacon Brands’ in prime positioning and including on promotional offers, as it drives traffic to the store.
Our understanding is that whilst some HFSS products will not be able to go on a solus promotion, there may be a loophole – as to them being within a ‘meal deal’ or wider promotion.
The HFSS legislation doesn’t just affect in-store, it operates across advertising and online activity. Brands will counteract this through less specific product advertising and more general brand awareness and exposure. Consumers will be engaging more and more with overall brand ethos, logo and values to drive traction and advocacy.

With the Retailers currently being in charge of implementing the HFSS legislation, this is likely to be a resource and labour-intensive task, both at head office and at the store level. With limited space to choose from, brands and manufacturers will be working hard to secure prime locations within the main fixtures and bays. Those with field teams and regular merchandisers will be using the time in-store to create the best displays, fully merchandised aisles and making sure compliance and visibility is paramount.
Brands can also look to focus on smaller format stores. Stores of 185.8 sqm (even if they are part of a large/national company) potentially have a loophole and exemption on locations for HFSS products. This is also similar for a specialist retailer, who generally stocks one type of product or category.

Get involved early…

Retailers and manufacturers understand this legislation is coming… and it will be the priority for 2022. Between now and the end of the year we all know the focus will be Christmas and selling as much as possible. It is likely more information will start filtering in from the beginning of 2022, as currently there are still a lot of grey areas. Our advice is for brands and manufacturers to be present on the shop floor through merchandising and auditing from early in the new year. This way if you are working with the retailers and supporting them, you are in a prime position to learn, understand and adapt accordingly.
Creating insights, gathering data and portfolios of the stores, is a good way to learn and evolve. Team Mirror are in store 365 days a year, we are the strongest connection between store and brand. Our approach is flexible and proactive.
Why not set up a few pilot stores, trialing different POS and experience in the first or second quarter of 2022 – test the water, and track sales data and results.

Why not have a chat with Pip Parry our Sales Manager to see how we can support your brand through HFSS legislation and beyond. Email: pip@mirrormarketing.co.uk