Grocery Guru Episode #34: HFSS – High in Fat, Salt or Sugar Foods – UK Law from 1st April 2022

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Making Business Matter (MBM)
Making Business Matter (MBM)
Grocery Guru Episode #34: HFSS - High in Fat, Salt or Sugar Foods – UK Law from 1st April 2022
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New UK HFSS Laws on High in Fat, Salt or Sugar Foods

Join Andrew Grant and Darren A. Smith in the thirty-fourth episode of the Grocery Guru. They discuss HFSS New Laws: High in Fat, Salt, or Sugar Foods. These are products that will be stopped from being sited on secondary spaces in-store, and cannot be volume promoted. The HFSS New Laws will affect all stores over 2,000 feet and including symbol stores, like Spar.

Many rows of white donuts

There will be HFSS New Laws commencing in April 2022 for HFSS foods

You Can View the Full HFSS New Laws Transcript Below:

Darren A. Smith:

Hello, and welcome to episode 34 of the Grocery Guru. We’re here with that guru, who is Andrew Grant. Andrew, how are you doing?

Andrew Grant:

Morning, Darren. Yes, very good. Are you well?

Darren A. Smith:

I’m very well. It’s Friday. What’s in our postbag? What’s on your mind? What’s the world talking about today, in the world of grocery?

Andrew Grant:

Yeah. It’s, I think, yesterday, all you could hear about, other than England playing Germany next week, was HFSS. It doesn’t exactly slip off the tongue. It’s nothing to do with a train line about to go past your house, but I think it’s a pretty big deal, actually.

Darren A. Smith:

All right. So, HFSS. Let’s treat me like an idiot. No comments invited. HFSS, what does that mean?

Andrew Grant:

Okay. I won’t get you to guess. High fat, salt, and sugar foods. For people in the industry, the impulse category, basically. Some pretty serious legislation coming down the tracks, and actually, potentially will be enforced on the 1st of April 2022, which by my reckoning is 279 days away.

Darren A. Smith:

It is, [inaudible 00:01:23].

Andrew Grant:

If the legislation goes through as I’ve read it, seismic changes to all those foods that will be classed as high fat, sugar, and salt. We’re talking fizzy drinks, we’re talking soft drinks, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, crisps, snacks, even processed ready meals, and stuff like that.

Darren A. Smith:

Wow. All right. Let’s do what our Americans say, let’s unbox this with you, [inaudible 00:01:55].

Andrew Grant:

Ooh.

Darren A. Smith:

Let’s unbox it. So HFSS is about salty, sugary foods. I think I do know a little bit about this. You said it’s the biggest change in enforced dietary changes since the World War, the Second World War?

Andrew Grant:

Yeah. If you think about it, I’m sure we all remember Jamie Oliver on the Turkey Twizzlers. The government, over the last 10 years, has made a lot of changes encouraging, and in some regards forcing, manufacturers to change formulations.

Darren A. Smith:

Yeah.

Andrew Grant:

To reduce the amount of salt, to reduce the amount of sugar. There’s obviously been the watershed advertising bans.

Darren A. Smith:

Yep.

Andrew Grant:

Not allowed to advertise these products to kids, or in schools.

Darren A. Smith:

Yep.

Andrew Grant:

Sort of round the edges, but what they’re proposing for next April, as far as retailers and suppliers are concerned, goes one hell of a step further. That is to ban the siting of those foods anywhere other than on the shelf, their home shelves. So you can’t have sweets on checkouts. A lot of the retailers have made that decision themselves, but that will be illegal.

No siting of sweets or these HFSS products anywhere near the checkouts, within two meters of the entrance. Then probably the biggest, you won’t be able to volume-promote these products. So you’ll be able to price-promote, I believe, but you won’t be able to do BOGOFs, extra-frees, twofers. If you think of the impulse category, certainly back in my day, something like 70% of a brand’s volume in those categories went through on deal.

Darren A. Smith:

Let’s bring that to life. If I’m walking through the central aisle of a Tesco or a Sainsbury’s, and I see the gondola end and it’s packed with M&M’s, with the little round man with the funny hands-

Andrew Grant:

Yep.

Darren A. Smith:

No more?

Andrew Grant:

From April the 1st 2022, potentially not, unless it’s a straight price promotion, but then would it be big enough to get on end?

Darren A. Smith:

Then also secondary-siting those, so it would be allowed?

Andrew Grant:

It’s a very good point. It’s [inaudible 00:04:16], but yeah, I’m not sure secondary-siting counts as promotional, but yeah, but potentially that’s a very good point, actually. You have to promote off-shelf.

Darren A. Smith:

Okay. How does this fit in with the sugar tax on soft drinks that we saw a while back?

Andrew Grant:

Yeah. That’s separate. As I said, this is about the merchandising and promotion of a massive slug of the store. This is going to affect all stores over 2,000 square feet.

Darren A. Smith:

Oh, okay.

Andrew Grant:

All symbol and member stores. So this isn’t just the big supermarkets. This is everybody, basically, other than the independent mom-and-pop shop.

Darren A. Smith:

So this will affect a SPAR?

Andrew Grant:

This will affect SPAR, it’ll affect Alldays, [Todays 00:05:08], Nisa, the works.

Darren A. Smith:

Okay. your sense, because you know a lot of people in the industry, have they wrapped their heads around this yet?

Andrew Grant:

A few have. A few of the big brands that we talk to, those categories, they have. They’re very focused on engaging with their retail customers to get space re-designed.

Darren A. Smith:

Right, [crosstalk 00:05:35].

Andrew Grant:

Because if, as you say, you can only promote off-shelf, all of a sudden, think of the volume that goes through, as I said, those impulse lines on [inaudible 00:05:45], if they’re not going to lose a shed load of volume, manufacturers and retailers, they’ve somehow got to shift that amount of volume off-shelf. So do you suddenly need 50% more shelving? Then even more interesting, what do you put on those promotional ends? Because the fact that it’s called impulse means that actually we quite like the stuff. It might be bad for us-

Darren A. Smith:

Yeah.

Andrew Grant:

But we like it. Are we going to buy BOGOFs of wholewheat grains, cereal bars, and lime-infused natural mineral water? I don’t think so.

Darren A. Smith:

So there is a positive for all of the other categories, who may find now that they’ve got access to space they never got access to before.

Andrew Grant:

Yeah. [crosstalk 00:06:34].

Darren A. Smith:

[crosstalk 00:06:34] to promotions they never got access to before.

Andrew Grant:

Yeah, but do they sell it in enough volume?

Darren A. Smith:

Probably not. Okay, good point. Then I guess this is also bricks-and-mortar plus digital. So if there is an… let’s come back to my example of the M&Ms with the funky hands, the round, red guy. Digitally, if that was a banner on a Tesco shopping site, it probably won’t be allowed anymore.

Andrew Grant:

No, that was the big news yesterday. Digital advertising or online advertising will be banned.

Darren A. Smith:

[inaudible 00:07:05].

Andrew Grant:

Manufacturers will still be allowed to have their own M&M website or Coca-Cola website. But yeah, they won’t be able to do pop-up banners on a Tesco or a Sainsbury’s shopping site, promoting a promotion.

Darren A. Smith:

So this law, bigger than GSCOP? Bigger impact, do you think, on the grocery world in the UK?

Andrew Grant:

Yeah, because GSCOP is after the event. GSCOP only comes in if a retailer inadvertently or deliberately breaches it. No, this is like changing the speed limit from 70 down to 40 on a motorway.

Darren A. Smith:

Yes. Yes.

Andrew Grant:

In my view. Yeah. For the impulse category, it essentially halves it.

Darren A. Smith:

You mentioned earlier, 287 days or something, because we came up with some sort of countdown thing. But actually, that’s days. In working days, we can take a whole bunch off that. So we’re probably down to about 180, 190 days before this thing happens.

Andrew Grant:

Oh yeah. Yeah. So it’s working days, where are we now? We’re effectively July. In the old world, the world stopped in July and August.

Darren A. Smith:

Yeah.

Andrew Grant:

So you’ve got September, October… November and December are busy for Christmas. So you’ve got September, October, January, Feb. You’ve got five months. So 20 weeks, 140 days less. Yeah. You’re probably down to 100 working days or less.

Darren A. Smith:

That’s just what we’re thinking about. Would you just bring to life Easter for us? Easter eggs. What’s happening there?

Andrew Grant:

Yeah. They’ll still be able to sell Easter eggs, but will it be allowed on front-of-store pallets? Which traditionally you walk into a store just prior to Easter, and you can’t move-

Darren A. Smith:

Yeah.

Andrew Grant:

… for pallets of Easter eggs. So potentially no pallets of Easter eggs, certainly no three for ten, or buy two for five quid, which is how the stores have promoted Easter for the last 10 years or so. In theory, it’ll be single-priced Easter eggs, in shelf.

Darren A. Smith:

Wow. Wow, wow.

Andrew Grant:

Yeah.

Darren A. Smith:

Would you just expand? I don’t know if you’ve got the knowledge, but let’s try. In terms of products, so Easter eggs, obvious. M&Ms was my example. What are some of the more obscure ones that we’re not thinking about?

Andrew Grant:

[inaudible 00:09:27] it’s probably easier to say what isn’t covered, so what’s counted as a staple.

Darren A. Smith:

Yeah.

Andrew Grant:

So oil, olive oil, corn oil, lard, butter, margarine, and that’s all very high fat, but by definition those will be excluded because they count as a staple item.

Darren A. Smith:

Right. Okay. Right. [crosstalk 00:09:50].

Andrew Grant:

But anything that is processed, so the minute that becomes a cake, a biscuit, a chocolate bar, a fizzy drink, a processed ready meal, it falls under the HFSS legislation. There’s a whole government website, if anybody’s watching and is worried whether their products fits in or not, there is a government website with a calculator to work out if your combination of fat, salt, and sugar breaches the guidelines.

Darren A. Smith:

Okay. We’ll put a link to that at the bottom of this video for people. I’m just aware we’re coming up on your time. So, HFSS New Laws comes, we think, 1st of April. My last question is, GSCOP was quite fuzzy as to which products were in and which products were out. Included, excluded. I guess this is going to be similar, where we’ll get those gray areas around the edge where people think, “Oh, that’s not in,” but it is.

Andrew Grant:

Yeah. I don’t think it’ll be as gray as GSCOP. I think they will be pretty specific. Now, there will always be… remember when VAT was brought in, there was the Jaffa Cake debate. Was a Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit? McVitie’s actually won, the fact it was a cake and didn’t have VAT, even though it’s covered in chocolate and full of jam. Now, there’s going to be the odd product like that. But I think when you look at that government website, they’ve been pretty comprehensive in what constitutes an HFS product. HFSS product.

Darren A. Smith:

HFSS. All right. Last bit, if you would, Andrew. I know we’ve got a webinar coming up, that we’re partnering with Wanzl. Would you just give us 10, 20 seconds on that, and then we’ll let you get back to your day.

Andrew Grant:

Yeah. Obviously, I think there’ll be a lot of people out there, who hopefully when they see that, will have a OMG moment. “What is this? Does it affect my products? What on earth do we do?” So, yeah, we’re putting together a webinar with Wanzl, the shop outfitting people, just to help suppliers through this. As I said, I think from a car analogy, it’s like suddenly getting on the M1 and realizing you can only do 40.

Darren A. Smith:

Right.

Andrew Grant:

Which in actual fact, is all you can do most days, but hopefully you get the analogy.

Darren A. Smith:

All right. We’ve talked to Andrew about HFSS New Laws. He’s our grocery guru. If you have more questions, there’s a few links at the bottom of video. Please get in touch. Andrew, thank you again. Have a good Friday. Take care.

Andrew Grant:

Take care. Bye.

Take a look at the HFSS New Laws video on our YouTube Channel. Also, check out our award-winning blog.

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