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

HFSS podcast

The new High Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) legislation will see a seismic shift within the FMCG market affecting numerous brands and retailers alike. The legislation will be enforced from October 2022, after already being pushed back from April 2022 due to the size of the impact on the industry. 

Dan Sands specialises in industry engagement at GS1 UK and championing our grocery product data service – productDNA.  From working closely with retailers and manufacturers to understand their industry challenges he has also become our HFSS expert.  

There is still a lack of awareness across the industry about HFSS is and what it means, so Dan joined the co-founders of Young Foodies, Thea and Andy, on their blue plaster podcast to discuss in more detail. 

Key highlights from the podcast

  • The industry are working hard to identify which products are classed as HFSS based on the nutritional profiling model
  • There’s a lot of challenges for manufacturers to tackle such as whether they reformulate their products so it falls the right side of the HFSS line or do they change their price and promotion strategy 
  • Challenger brands have an amazing opportunity to get ahead of the curve and develop their own products that are HFSS complaint
  • Anyone with a non-compliant HFSS product has an uncertainty around potential liability. Will it sit with the retailer as they have to trust the information provided to them by the supplier? 
  • There is a lack of trust in the data being provided and getting data structured and in-house  
  • It’s important to start thinking about how accurate and accessible product data is to account for future legislation that require sharing data externally. Examples of this are already being demonstrated by Natasha’s law or the deposit return scheme in Scotland
  • As a supplier when you talk to buyers or retailers one of the first questions asked now is ‘are you HFSS compliant’? They want to ensure they have a range of HFSS compliant products to promote on their shelves by October 2022

productDNA HFSS solution launched

GS1 UK have launched a free solution in collaboration with leading retailers to help suppliers manage and share their HFSS data. Find out more and sign-up.


What is HFSS?

A government initiative introduced in 2018 to tackle obesity and promote healthier choices that essentially means, as Thea put it:

‘a harder life for anything that has high fat, salt and sugar and a better life for any brands who have a healthier product’.