HFSS: Which FMCG brands are reformulating bestsellers ahead of October’s law change


With speculations that the new High Fat Salt and Sugar (HFSS) restrictions due for October are being delayed due to pressures of alleviating the cost-of-living crisis for consumers – all things HFSS currently appear up in the air.

However, despite these potential delays, the government published new guidelines for HFSS restrictions earlier this month and in turn retailers, associations and brands have listened intently.

While the policy has been met with criticism, doubt and urgency from various groups, much of the focus has been on how HFSS would impact retailers from right across the grocery spectrum, from Big 4 grocers to convenience stores.

Grocery Gazette takes a closer look on what the new clarifications means and which FMCG brands are reformulating some of their bestselling products in order to comply with HFSS legislation.

READ MORE: HFSS policy delayed due to cost-of-living crisis

 Clarifying HFSS policy

At the beginning of April the government published the implementation guidance by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), clarifying the new HFSS restrictions in retail settings.

The new guidance set out that products with volume-based promotions printed on the packet (such as ‘two for the price of one’) will be subject to a sell-through period of 12 months, taking them through to October 2023.

It also stated that the number of employees used to determine whether HFSS policy applies includes to colleagues outside of England as well, while further clarifying what exactly constitutes a “relevant special offer” and the regulations around vending machines.

READ MORE: Government clarifies HFSS policy confusion

The guidelines which came as part of the original HFSS legislation – which is set to come in place from 1 October this year – restricted volume price promotions on HFFS products for retailers with more than 50 employees.

Additionally, the original policy that aimed to “tackle obesity” also will ban HFSS products from tills and aisle bays to reduce impulse buys.

While much of the focus has been placed on how retailers will adapt to promotional and placement restrictions, FMCG brands have also been reformulating recipes behind the scenes to ensure HFSS compliance. This will allow them to continue to offer volume-based promotional deals while also being placed in key locations on the shop floor.

READ MORE: ACS says vague HFSS policy is up for ‘interpretation’

Which products are now non-HFSS?

KP Snacks

KP Snacks has marked all wholesale boxes of healthier products with a ‘non-HFSS’ label ahead of the new restrictions.

The new products cases will be launched across KP Snack’s non-HFSS brands, including Popchips and KP Nuts.

KP’s new ‘non-HFSS’ label is set to help retailers distinguish where to place the products in line with new regulations – meaning they can be placed at aisle bays and near tills.

Weetabix and Lyle’s Golden Syrup cereal

Weetabix has partnered with Lyle’s Golden Syrup to launch a new HFSS-compliant cereal.

Available from 24 May, Weetabix baked with Lyle’s Golden Syrup is high in fibre, low in fat and salt, and uses 100% British wholegrain wheat, ensuring it is HFSS-compliant.

The coupling of flavours blends the sweetly-caramelised flavour of Lyle’s Golden Syrup with Weetabix’s classic biscuit – but remains non-HFSS.

Mini Cheddars Nibbles

Pladis has launched a lighter formula for its classic cheese snack. Jacob’s Mini Cheddars Nibbles are currently available in two flavours, Cheddar & Smoked Paprika and Double Gloucester & Chive.

The HFSS compliant snack is available in multipacks of six and 115g sharing bags retailing at £1.50.

McVitie’s Rich Tea Delights

Pladis has also broadened its range to include non-HFSS variant of Rich Tea which states it has 30% less sugar than the original biscuit.

The packaging also claims there are only 38 calories per biscuit. McVitie’s Rich Tea Delights are currently available in 300g packs for £1.59 a pack.

Kellogg’s Coco Pops

Kellogg’s has launched a limited edition flavour of Coco Pops – Hazelnut Choc Flavour – that is non-HFSS. The new flavour has been available since the start of this year, retailing at £3.

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