Earlier this year, the government confirmed plans to prevent HFSS (high in fat, sugar, and salt) products from being shown on TV and online before 9 pm. Introducing a watershed is said to limit the amount of HFSS advertisements that children see on a daily basis and thus tackle rising obesity rates in the UK. 

While these restrictions could be beneficial in the fight against obesity, they could have a negative impact on various industries. The good news is that the government has now delayed the ban by six months from April to October 2022, but that doesn’t mean you should bury your head in the sand… 

Here, we outline what the ban might mean for UK food and drink manufacturers now, and further down the line.

Effects on the sector

Needless to say, the HFSS ad restrictions will have huge implications for the online advertising sector, but this won’t be the only area affected. The regulations will undoubtedly impact the thousands of people who work tirelessly to keep supermarket shelves stocked and food on our tables.

Although the ban has now been pushed back, Kate Halliwell, Chief Scientific Officer at Food and Drink Federation, believes organisations haven’t been given enough time to prepare for the legislation. We couldn’t agree more. 

“It could not come at a worse time for food and drink manufacturers. The industry is preparing for its busiest time of the year and working flat out to keep the nation fed through lockdown,” said Kate. 

Following the advertisement ban, we could see the removal of all HFSS products in the not-too-distant future, which would have even more devastating effects on the sector. And that’s not the only thing businesses have had to worry about in recent years… 

The Soft Drinks Industry Levy

On 6th April 2018, the UK government introduced the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – commonly referred to as the ‘Sugar Tax’ with the aim of tackling childhood obesity. The law forced manufacturers across the country to reduce the sugar content in soft drinks and ultimately reformulate their goods to avoid being taxed. 

As a result, many businesses were prompted to recruit new talent in order to comply with the legal requirements. This is something other manufacturers may need to consider over the next few months. That’s because, in addition to the HFSS ban, Natasha’s Law: a food allergen legislation, is set to come into effect in October 2021, but it isn’t all bad news… 

The silver lining

According to IRI, up to 26% of shelf space could be ‘up for grabs’ in supermarkets across the UK when the ban comes into force in October 2022. At present, HFSS foods such as sweets, chocolate, fruit juice, and yoghurts take up around 38% of supermarket space, which could potentially decrease to 12% once the legislation is in place. 

Joe Harriman, IRI’s HFSS Strategic Consultant, commented on the matter: “With the ban on in-store promotional activity and display for HFSS products, this is a real opportunity for brands that have no in-category competition or that offer healthier alternatives as retailers look to rethink their ranges.” 

Food and drink manufacturers won’t just benefit from more shelf space, either. Next year, retailer owners will have a chance to completely rethink the layout of their supermarkets. As Joe Harriman pointed out, this will give LFSS (low in fat, sugar, and salt) and HFSS categories the opportunity to benefit. 

Support from Silven

With the HFSS ban fast approaching, food and drink manufacturers need to take on individuals that are up-to-speed with the latest laws and regulations. If you’re looking for skilled senior or middle management staff who can guarantee compliance with legal requirements, you’re in the right place. 

Our established permanent and interim teams have a strong network of contacts and can help you fill your vacant positions with top talent. We cover the full supply chain and are well equipped to find quality candidates in no time. Want to know more? Call us today on 0161 832 7463 and discover how we can support your business!