HFSS and new implications for: shopper behaviour and insights.

Posted by Ivan Browne on the 27th October, 2021
Once in the aisle, manufacturers will need to assess what optimal execution now looks like.

Many FMCG and grocery retailers face an interesting challenge with the upcoming new legislation around HFSS. These categories are highly impulsive and have acted as great basket builders for retailers over the past decades. Their location on secondary sites is carefully curated to entice the shopper to put one more product in the basket. We all know that visibility creates need and if supported by a promotion it can often be irresistible to the shopper.

HFSS categories carry a strong mental connection between reward and with relax and unwind occasions such as watching TV/Sport/Films etc with HFSS categories seen to enhance the experience of the occasion. Treats may not be pre-planned but the unspoken mindset is to cash in on affordable pleasures.

These permissible, low-cost treats have played an important role in retailer’s promotional strategy, however, the new HFSS legislation will mean a rethink and other impulsive items will need to be found to act as the basket size builders and fill the promotional spaces around the store.

Whether you are a retailer or a manufacturer for categories impacted by HFSS legislation, there are some key challenges to be addressed in the near future. Should I reformulate or use NPD to create a healthier version? How do I drive footfall to the category now I have lost visibility? Cross break standout will be critical to pull shoppers down the aisle. Once in the aisle, manufacturers will need to assess what optimal execution now looks like. Where are you placed in the aisle? Where are you located on the shelf and what is the right Planogram? What is the right range? How many facings do your products have (share of shelf)? What is the right pricing structure? How should I communicate in this new world? Shopper research can provide the answer to many of these questions.

Previously there has been a strong link to the occasion, driven by execution. POSM, SRP, pack imagery and messaging helped shoppers make the connection to emotionally valued need-states and occasions. What is permissible and relevant needs to be assessed.

There is an argument to give shoppers choice of healthier alternatives through adjacencies and messaging. What does this look like, and will shoppers respond?

In light of new HFSS legislation, retailers and manufactures need to rethink how they execute HFSS categories in-store and develop a new activation strategy to meet both the needs of consumers and shoppers. The old strategy of putting promoted, impulsive treats in high visibility areas will not work but retailers now place in these impulsive areas products that build the basket but not the consumers waistline!

Meet the Author: Ivan Browne
Share this blog