Please enable cookies to allow videos to display across the site. Click the icon in the bottom left of the site to adjust your preferences.

Are you prepared for HFSS?

Are you prepared for HFSS?

Legal changes could mean the end of the
BOGOF chocolate bar – but more
than four in 10 business owners are
not prepared for the ruling to come in.

 In a bid to curb unnecessary intake of unhealthy items, consumers will also no longer see sweet treats on offer near any entry point or checkout.

The HFSS challenge

On 1 October 2022, new legislation came into force banning products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) from "appealing" locations in stores. With more than one in three children aged 10 to 11 currently overweight, the landmark ruling aims to curb Britain's obesity crisis and represents one of the most significant challenges the retail industry has ever faced.

Advertising and marketing across all media will be affected, with commercials no longer allowed to run before 9pm and limitations on social media promotions imposed from 1 January next year.

Although, exemptions will be in place to protect businesses who have small premises or less than 50 employees.

With the HFSS deadline rapidly approaching, we surveyed business owners and consumers across the UK to measure their awareness, readiness and attitudes towards the new legislation. 

More to be done

Our research has revealed that just one in three businesses have checked their products ahead one of the biggest shake ups the retail sector has ever faced.

A quarter have not even considered auditing their products at all, with one in five businesses unaware of the new legislation altogether.  

We learnt that over four in 10 feel unprepared for the changes, with 73 per cent unaware that volume promotions, such as BOGOF offers, will be banned. 

 It has also emerged that just 33 per cent are training staff on the new rules, while 35 per cent are auditing suppliers, and 48 per cent are reworking existing products.

Two-thirds say more financial support from the government is needed to help them adapt – with 81 per cent predicting the new rules will change how their business operates.

How ready are businesses ahead of HFSS

Anne Godfrey, CEO of GS1 UK

The HFSS legislation represents a seismic shift for businesses across the UK and many of our 57,000 members will be affected. Whilst our research reveals that businesses and consumers are aligned on the benefits the changes can bring, the findings show there is much more to be done if the sentiment of the legislation is to become a reality."

Anne Godfrey


Consumer attitudes

Further research of 1,500 consumers found the legislation will significantly affect shopping behaviours – given over half admitted to purchasing HFSS products every time they shop.

It also emerged that 51 per cent would be less likely to purchase HFSS items if they were less visible in store – and a quarter would buy fewer if they were only available at full price.

Over half say they would miss buy-one, get-one-free offers on such products amidst the biggest cost of living squeeze in two decades, with 85% already changing how they shop to reduce grocery bills.

However, businesses (66 per cent) and consumers (68 per cent) both agree on the need for regulation to curb unhealthy eating.

Consumer attitudes towards HFSS

Professor Tim Lang, Professor Emeritus of Food Policy at City University of London’s Centre for Food Policy

It’s worrying to see that businesses across the food and drink industry do not feel prepared for the upcoming changes in legislation. Whilst the changes will no doubt affect how countless businesses operate, the new legislation is a crucial step toward solving issues around public health. It is however, encouraging to see support for the introduction of the new rules amongst both the industry and the general public.”

Professor Tim Lang

Professor Emeritus of Food Policy at City University of London’s Centre for Food Policy

Over a quarter in the food and drink industry say they will be negatively impacted, with the amount of time and money required to change existing products or develop new ones given as the top reasons.

How are businesses getting on auditing their products

How can we help?

To help retailers and suppliers adapt, we have joined forces with the UK retail industry to create a free way for manufacturers and suppliers to capture and share HFSS information.

Our productDNA platform is designed and built for the industry using GS1 standards, enabling suppliers to easily capture, manage and share HFSS attributes with multiple retailers at once.

With over 75% of grocery retailers, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Partners, Ocado, Asda and Morrisons already using the product data sharing platform, productDNA is answering the data compliance challenge created by the HFSS legislation.

Sonia Pombo, Campaign Manager for Action on Salt

Placing restrictions on unhealthy food promotions in-store is one way of helping to transform our food system and save lives. Rebalancing the cost of producing healthier vs less healthy foods will drive further innovation and recipe improvements, to build a healthier, more equitable nation. The food industry should fully understand their influence and direct responsibility.”

Sonia Pombo

Campaign Manager for Action on Salt

Useful resources

Understanding the promotional location regulations webinar

Webinars with the BRC and FDF

Webinar with the BRC and FDA to provide guidance on calculating the HFSS score and whether your products are in scope.

Summary of the regulations and how to calculate your HFSS score

Understanding the HFSS promotional location requirements: are you in scope?

Full summary on the promotional location regulations and how to calculate if your products are in scope.

Watch our webinar on how industry is solving the HFSS dilemma

Watch our webinar on how industry is solving the HFSS dilemma

See how the industry has collaborated to provide an HFSS solution, you can watch the full recording here.

Watch our HFSS basics webinar

Watch our HFSS basics webinar

If you missed our webinar on HFSS: everything you need to know about the upcoming legislation, you can watch the full recording here.

What are the key challenges retailers and suppliers are facing from HFSS?

What are the key challenges retailers and suppliers are facing from HFSS?

Podcast with Young Foodies and GS1 UK to discuss HFSS in more detail.

Download our HFSS infographic

Download our HFSS infographic

Click here to access access a copy of our full HFSS infographic.

Launching an industry solution to solve the HFSS dilemma together

GS1 UK have collaborated with leading retailers to create an easy solution to share and manage HFSS data with their suppliers.