How to make HFSS products stand out on the shelf

How to make HFSS products stand out on the shelf

Happy new year! Welcome to 2022! And what a lot we have to look forward to in 2022. Aside from hoping that we will finally see off the Covid-19 virus, the Winter Olympics are coming up in February in Beijing, the UEFA Women’s Euros are in July in England and the FIFA Men’s World Cup is taking place in November in Qatar (it’s November not the usual June because between May and September it’s far too hot in Qatar to run around chasing a ball).

Beyond the sporting arena, and to top it all, in May in Italy it’s Eurovision, but a few months later, on 1 October 2022, the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 come into effect. Now I don’t want to spoil the positivity party, but these regulations are not good news if you’re a brand, particularly a brand which sells food or drink that’s high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS).

Ban on volume price promotions

HFSS is quite a broad category and potentially includes ice cream, chocolate, biscuits, cake, pastries, pizza, battered fish, fries, ready-made sandwiches and fizzy drinks with added sugar – all contributors to obesity, particularly childhood obesity (the ASA has some helpful information on how HFSS foods and drinks can be identified).

If that’s you, the regulations will stop you offering your product in a ‘volume price promotion’. Whether it’s in-store or online, that means a multibuy promotion where there is a financial incentive for buying multiple items compared with buying each item separately, for example ‘3 for of 2’, ‘3 for £10’ or ‘Buy 6 and save 25%’.

Right, if volume price promotions are out, you’ll have to ensure your branded HFSS goods get a prime spot in the supermarket, won’t you? Well, I can’t fault your thinking, but the aforementioned regulations will restrict where in the store your product can be placed.

HFSS no-go zones

There are some caveats about type and size of store, but basically HFSS products can be placed within two metres of a checkout; within two metres of a queuing area; at the end of an aisle where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store or on a separate structure, such as an island bin, free-standing unit, side stack or clip strip connected or adjacent to an aisle end; near any public entrance to the store’s main shopping area; or in a covered external area.

Again, there are some caveats, and you’ll want to look at the definitions in detail, but essentially HFSS products cannot be promoted online on a home page; while a consumer is searching for or browsing products; on a page not opened intentionally by the consumer, such as a pop-up or brand burst); on a favourite products page, unless the consumer has previously favourited or purchased the specified food; or on a checkout page.

Although it’s very unlikely that it won’t be, this legislation has not yet been passed by Parliament and it only applies to England and Wales. The retail industry is also lobbying to delay the implementation of the regulations further (they were originally due to come into force in April this year). However, whenever they do go live it’s going to mean some significant changes to the way brands present themselves.

So, what to do? How can you make your HFSS products stand out on the shelf when you can’t position them in a prominent location? The answer is simple, at least from where I’m standing, and it’s prize promotions.

For help promoting your brand and HFSS products in store or online, call Prizeology on 020 7856 0402 or email us via

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