What is HFSS and what can you do about it?

Posted on:
October 14, 2021

Pink doughnut

If you’re working in the Food & Beverage industry, I’m sure you’ll have heard the term ‘HFSS’ before. But what is HFSS and what can you do about it? To help you think about what it is and how it can affect your brand, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you get prepared. Whether you’re familiar with this new legislation or not, read on to find out what you can do about it.


What is HFSS?

HFSS refers to new legislation from the UK Government regarding foods that are High in Fat, Salt or Sugar. Coming into effect in October 2022, this legislation will include restrictions on paid online advertising for these products. In addition, it will also include a 9pm watershed on TV advertising. More information on which products are included in this can be found here.


How could it affect my brand?

With traditional paid media such as Facebook Ads or Display being banned if your product falls into this category, there’ll be a greater reliance on organic media. Plus, any paid media that is exempt from the ban (such as TV advertising after 9pm) will have an increase in demand, which will likely be reflected in the cost.

With 1 year to go until HFSS comes into effect, now’s the time to act…


What can I do about HFSS?


Growing your first party database

If various forms of paid media become more restricted / expensive, having a database of consumers you can market to for free will be a godsend. Being able to deliver relevant, personalised communications to consumers who you have a pre-existing relationship with will be huge for things such as brand awareness, NPD, and (most importantly) sales – so don’t delay on building this database. While lead generation can cost money, when you consider that this user will then be on your database in perpetuity (unless they unsubscribe, of course) it’s very cost effective compared to some other forms of marketing. For more information on growing your first party database, read our top tips here.


Growing your social media presence

They say every cloud has a silver lining, right? Well, the silver lining of HFSS is that it only applies to paid media. This means that your organic social media posts won’t be affected. It will, however, mean you’ll need to shift your strategy. Rather than spending your social budget on Facebook advertising, instead you’ll need to invest in quality, unique and engaging content. Ensuring that you’re continuously growing social media fan bases and getting lots of engagement on your posts too. If you haven’t already, now will be the perfect time to start exploring newer platforms, such as TikTok.


Online Sampling

One of the many benefits of online sampling is creating advocacy. There’s no better way of getting your target demographic to love your product than having them sample it. Advocacy will help to ensure that you have a loyal customer base post-HFSS, when traditional marketing could be more challenging. A loyal customer base will ensure your brand remains strong – and potentially even help with sales via word of mouth. Top tip: Read our blog on how to make the best of your online sampling campaign.


Get in touch today on +44 (0) 20 3974 7458 or sayhello@sampltech.com to find out how Sampl can help your business prepare for HFSS.

About the author

Wade Frith

Wade is the Head of Growth at Sampl based in bustling London. A go-to expert in social media strategy and content marketing, he loves guiding our clients through setting up a campaign and coming up with new Marketing Strategies. You can usually find him binge-watching a Netflix reality show or listening to a vintage vinyl record.

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