The impact of HFSS: How high fat, salt and sugar brands need to adapt in Grocery to keep sales high

22 May 2022
Author: Kirsty Whyte

4 ways brands who are directly impacted can adapt to HFSS...


When the HFSS regulations take effect in October, it will create a shake up for brands who are directly impacted by the new rules. Confectionary, soft drinks and other high fat, salt and sugar products will lose prime promotional space in the Government’s campaign for healthier living. The legislation will enforce new advertising restrictions, meaning brands will have to approach key selling opportunities in a different way. For the brands directly affected, it’s all about maximising the in-store space that’s still available. This week, we’re sharing our 4 ways brands who are directly impacted can adapt to HFSS. 


 1. Maximise the power aisle to gain additional space 

The HFSS legislation will remove the opportunity for promotional activity in key selling space within the store. However, brands can still actively promote their products within the store aisles.  

One aisle HFSS affected brands should get friendly with is ‘the power aisle.’ A power or action aisle is a wide corridor running through the store - often marked with signs or floor paint. The power aisle is found at the heart of the store – so it’s often found near the entrance or the middle of the store. This aisle of promotions is available for all categories, which is not in keeping with the rest of the store which is category specific. Here, any kind of products can be displayed, and different categories can be found side by side.  

With limited display areas available after HFSS legislation, power aisles will be critical for some brands to sustain sales of their products as this space is up for grabs by any brands, including those impacted by HFSS legislation. The power aisle is a great opportunity to grab additional space when gondola ends, pallet displays and other promotional space become unavailable to them.  

 2. Nail your execution the smart way 

To successfully navigate HFSS, brands need to ensure they have a winning in-store execution strategy. Data will become more crucial than ever to help brands maintain stock availability on the shelf. 

One opportunity available to brands is making use of systems like DART, our sales performance and opportunity alerting app available from our Thumbprint digital and data agency. It uses retailer’s daily EPOS data to direct users to the biggest opportunities for brands and SKUs. In turn, this unlocks significant sales growth for brands, whilst helping teams become more efficient. DART can quickly direct users to current issues, predict future issues and resolve them before they become problems through simple alerts. It also acts as an evaluation and directive tool for head office teams, addressing challenges from supply chain, to sales, category and shopper marketing. So far, brands have experienced significant success when incorporating DART into their strategy. In fact, our figures highlight a 42% uplift, compared to those not using the product. 


 3. Get the right teams in place 

For brands, getting the right blend of teams in place early will help prepare you for the new HFSS legislation. Field teams will be essential for driving execution and engagement in store, ensuring your products are in the right place at the right time to sell more at the point of purchase.  

When considering the right mix of resource for your product portfolio, you may also want to think about seasonal peaks and store locations. Using agile teams could be the right option to deliver maximum results during key selling periods. An agile solution means you can tailor the resource solution to your needs and deliver everything from complex direct selling to implementation of retailer agreed activity. 

You may want to include a combination of permanent or agile resource or simply one or the other – start planning now to ensure your teams are ready to take action before HFSS legislation goes live! 

 4. Maintain strong in-store relationships 


Maintaining good relationships in-store will help make the HFSS changes an easier adjustment for brands. Brand field teams will be a key resource in store, often filling gaps that regularly occur due to staff absence or vacancy in retail. The more your field team can support the store, the better relationships they will have with store managers. This can help them achieve high availability and visibility for your brand’s products which will be even more important from October. 


How can Avidity support your brand to tackle HFSS? 


With a network of sales and marketing agencies as part of our group, Avidity is well equipped to support your brand to tackle the new HFSS legislation. Whether you’re already thinking about HFSS or need some help planning, we can direct you to the right resources to fit your brand strategy and needs.  

  • If you need advice on brand strategy, our sales consultancy agency Sellex can support you with key areas related to the new legislation – a revised merchandising strategy, a revised promotion and display strategy, a revised pricing strategy and re-allocation of retailer terms. 
  • From permanent and agile field marketing teams to activation and seasonal selling, our field marketing teams McCurrach and Standout can ensure you are HFSS ready.  
  • Our digital and data brand, Thumbprint can fulfil all your data needs with our market-leading EPOS data products. They are designed to help you operate efficiently whilst ultimately selling more. 
  • With covid restrictions eased across the UK, sampling and experiential marketing is on the rise again and could become more important than ever when tackling HFSS. Brands will need to consider new avenues to increase sales and our experiential marketing business Wave is on hand to assist with this. 

It’s time to get your sales strategy right not only in Grocery, but across other retails sectors too. Be prepared to explore new opportunities and maximise every area for growth available to your brand, inside and outside of Grocery.  

Talk to us about getting your brand ready for HFSS: Contact | Avidity ( 

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