The Food, The Ingredients and The New Regulation
Updated: Jan 24
Beginning in October 2022, a new set of rules restricting the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS) in England and Wales will come into effect. The law will restrict the placement and in-store marketing of certain HFSS products in order to encourage food and beverage businesses to produce and market healthier foods and lifestyles.
Here we'll be covering...
What is HFSS food and drinks legislation? - for those that may have been living in a cave
What is the impact on manufacturers, brands, and retailers?
And, what actions should businesses take?
The new legislation places additional restrictions on specific product categories, but the existing CAP rules covering certain types of promotional material still apply to all products, regardless of whether they fall within an impacted food category for the new law.
The restriction on multibuy deals on foods and drinks and the restriction on free refills of soft drinks are both now delayed for a year. The ban on HFSS being advertised on TV before 9 p.m. and paid-for advertisements online, which are both scheduled to come into force in January 2024, have also been postponed.
Nutrient Profile Score
The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 identify impacted food and drink categories, including soft drinks, savoury snacks, confectionery, and pizza. Even though every product within each category is not impacted, a ‘Nutrient Profile Score’ determines whether or not an individual product is impacted. Products with four or more ‘negative’ points for calorie density, saturated fat, sugar, and sodium and ‘positive’ points for protein, fibre, fruit, vegetables, and nuts are labelled as high-fat, high-calorie foods.
Sellers must obtain accurate nutritional information from brands.
What are the consequences of the HFSS regulation?
Impulse areas such as checkouts and gondola ends will be prohibited from 1st October 2022 in England and Wales from displaying HFSS items. Smaller stores with less than 185.8 square metres (2000 square feet) or speciality food shops that sell only one sort of product, such as chocolate, are the only exceptions. Responsibility for complying with the rules will rest with the store.
The government announced on May 14, 2022 that restrictions on volume and price promotions (for example, multibuy offers, 2 for 1) and free refill offers on HFSS beverages would be delayed for a year until October 2023, rather than taking effect at the same time.
Furthermore, the requirement for no HFSS products to be advertised on TV between 9pm and 5.30am, and the complete ban on digital platforms from January 2023 will be postponed until January 2024, for 12 months.
Retailers, manufacturers, and food business operators must comply with the new regulations.
How can businesses prepare for the upcoming HFSS regulations?
Businesses should start thinking now about how the legislation will affect them, even though the Regulations do not take effect until October 1, 2022.
Manufacturers will need to reformulate if they want to avoid any marketing restrictions under the new policy. The way in which the HFSS scoring system has been set up prevents food companies from simply adding positive nutrition such as protein or fibre to balance out the negative by simply subtracting saturated fat, salt, and sugar content first.
There are several issues here, as these components contribute to crucial functional characteristics such as flavour, shelf-life, texture, stability, mouthfeel, handling, and production reliability, all of which impact our overall eating experience. If consumers do not buy the reformulated product after sampling it, despite extensive advertisement efforts, achieving non-HFSS status may not be profitable. That is why it is so vital to optimise reformulation to preserve the original product's attributes and integrity as much as possible.
Finding a partner with the experience of helping food and drink manufacturers produce healthier, lower-fat, lower-sugar, and longer-lasting goods is going to be a priority for those smaller organisations that may not have the in-house experience or equipment to reformulate themselves.
Get a copy of our HFSS Complete Survival Guide...
On the 5th of September we'll be releasing our ULTIMATE guide on navigating the HFSS legislation along with a useful directory of ingredients specialists that can help you reformulate your products whilst offering tailored advice to ensure your continued growth in the food, ingredients and beverages industry.
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