Government clarifies HFSS policy confusion

The government has published the implementation guidance by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), clarifying the new High Fat Salt and Sugar (HFSS) restrictions in retail settings.

The legislation set to come in place from 1 October will restrict volume price promotions on HFFS products for retailers with more than 50 employees.

Additionally, HFSS products will be banned from tills and aisle bays to reduce the impulse buys. The measures come part of the government’s “tackling obesity” initiative.

READ MORE: How will HFSS legislation play out on the supermarket floor?

The new guidance has clarified that products that have volume promotions printed on the packet will be subject to a sell-through period of 12 months to October 2023.

It also stated that the number of employees used to determine whether HFSS policy applies includes colleagues outside of the England as well.

Clarifications on what constitutes a “relevant special offer” such as a meal deal or dine in for two will be assessed on a individual basis by enforcement officers.

On top of this, vending machines operated by an external business are not subject to the regulations but retailers are advised against placing vending machines with HFSS products in restricted areas of their stores.

The news comes after speculation that the HFSS policy will be delayed due to pressures of alleviating the cost-of-living crisis for consumers.

Furthermore, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) penned a letter to the prime minister last month urging for a review of the policy due to the burden on convenience retailers and the uncertainty of the rules.

“We encourage retailers to start making preparations now for how they’re going to adapt their businesses to stay on the right side of the law from October, to consult with their symbol groups where applicable and to engage with their suppliers as much as possible,” ACS CEO James Lowman said.

“The guidance provides a lot of answers for the overall introduction of the rules, but there is still a lot of interpretation that will be left up to enforcement officers when the regulations come into force.”

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