In July, the government announced measures to tackle the growing epidemic of obesity in the United Kingdom. These measures would propose legislation on products that are High in Fat, Salt and Sugar. The legislation would include a total online HFSS advertising ban and its intention to ban HFSS products advertised on TV and online before 9 pm.
At KICR Innovation, we believe in being prepared for any outcome. Therefore, we have devised a detailed Q&A below that should answer many of your questions regarding the impending HFSS advertising ban. We have also prepared a free guide to HFSS Legislation Compliance for CPGs: How To Own It and Make A Success Of It. Get your copy today and discover the five strategies for success.
In simple terms HFSS, it is an abbreviation of High in Fat, Salt and Sugar. The Department of Health’s Nutrient Profiling (NP) model is used to classify food and beverage products that are HFSS. It uses a scoring system which balances the contribution made by beneficial nutrients with components that we should consume less of. The lower the score, the “better-for-you” the product.
The HFSS classification restricts the promotion and placement of products within retailers. The restrictions that the Government has placed on HFSS products aims to ‘shape the marketing to children’. With the long-term goal being to shape children’s food preferences from a young age and encourage adults to do the same.Back to top
Nutritional profiling is used to categorise food according to its nutritional makeup. The table below represents the Nutrient Profiling model which was created by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for the purpose of indicating points scored by a food or beverage depending on each nutrient in 100g. Food products which score between 4 and 10, and beverages which score between 1 and 10 are classified as HFSS products. Improving scores will focus on targeted reformulation of nutrients in the “A” and “C” category.Back to top
Consumers daily intake of sugar and calories is alarming, with HFSS products being major contributors. There is ambition to pass this legislation as soon as possible, so that the benefits can be realised sooner. However, the complications of law enforcement may mean that intentions to pass this legislation by April 2022 may be exceeded. With retailers and brands voicing the need for more time to prepare, there has been widespread speculation this date will come into effect later in the year-estimated September/ October 2022.
Although the timeline is unclear, many brands and retailers who will be affected have seen this as an opportunity to introduce more innovative approaches in the development of BFY products. There is a clear opportunity space for brands to act fast to be first to market and own the non-HFSS space within their category.Back to top
Approximately 28% of the population in the UK is considered obese. Products high in fat, salt and sugar are believed to contribute to rising levels of obesity in children and adults. The Government has deemed the current situation as a ‘national struggle with obesity’, with rates continuing to increase. Although plans have been in place to combat the rise in obesity levels, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that more drastic measures were needed. These measures are of high importance to take control of an epidemic that if left unchecked, could become worse.
Building awareness and enforcing this change is a huge step towards creating a healthier population. With research showing that children are highly influenced by what they see and hear, as well as adults, the advertising restrictions of HFSS products has become the driving force behind the change and the door for more BFY products has flown wide open.Back to top
Reducing the incidence and communication of HFSS products will help society reduce childhood obesity in the UK. Regular overconsumption of HFSS food & drink products and those that are heavily processed are a leading factor in weight gain. HFSS advertising legislation is being put in place to help consumers achieve and maintain a healthy weight, through introducing and reworking products to be HFSS compliant and taking away the lure created by advertising for non-HFSS compliant products. If the product is not being constantly displayed, coaxing consumers to buy it through promotions and advertising, they will simply move on. The reduction in ‘noise’ created by HFSS products creates opportunities for compliant products in store and on the airwaves.Back to top
These impending changes may appear daunting, and there are several ways in which manufacturers can adapt. It’s important to partner with experts who can help navigate these changes, right from early-stage identification through to product reformulation and new launches.
One of our tip tips is rather than focussing on removing/reducing each “bad” ingredient, consider your whole recipe to identify scope to improve the overall nutritional profile.
Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of the full product and brand experience. The objectives are not isolated to changing entire product DNA through becoming HFSS-compliant. Brands need to manage consumer acceptability, ensure the product is still child friendly and enjoyable, and communicate the right messages – for example, if you were to add veggie purees to jelly sweets, you could alienate parents who do not want their children to think that they are getting vegetables from sweets.
As part of KICR’s experience in this field, we recently partnered with a global FMCG brand to reduce the sugar content from their portfolio. The category was children’s confectionery, which is impacted by the proposed legislation. By using alternative, healthier ingredients in the manufacturing process, the sugar content was significantly reduced without compromising on the delivery of great taste alongside additional benefits.Back to top
Given the urgency attached to this legislation, rapid turnaround is now key. KICR’s innovation consultants help brands deliver strategic incremental changes through to disruptive innovation product launches at pace across the wider Food and Beverage category. Grounded in human truths, culinary science with a clear commercial roadmap for success.
Identify – Is your product HFSS compliant? Use the algorithm provided by KICR to determine where your product stands
Decisions – Time to start thinking about reworking your product ingredients. KICR’s innovation consultants will offer sound and expert advice
Innovate – Having an HFSS compliant product that is unique and stands out from the rest. KICR’s aim is to break down innovation barriers as ideation begins
Prototyping – Getting fast consumer feedback on early prototypes provides important guidance for development. KICR, and its partner companies can help you evolve brand, pack and product holistically.
Retail – Having an HFSS compliant product that is eligible for secondary display and has the potential to become a consumer favourite. KICR works extra hard to ensure your product meets all necessary requirements for consumers.
To find out more download our HFSS Compliance. Let’s own it and make a success of its resource or arrange a free consultation with our Innovation Team who can help you meet your challenges.Back to top
Following consultation, the UK Government have announced that they intend to implement legislation to restrict the promotion of HFSS food and drink products in England by April 2022. The legislation will not be applied in Scotland. In June 2020, the Scottish Government announced that the introduction of this legislation would be put on hold due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the unknown effect that this would have upon the Scottish food and drink retail industry.Back to top
learn more about what the upcoming changes mean for you and the strategic approaches to take advantage of them, deliver disruptive, breakthrough innovation.