October deadline for HFSS product ranges looms large

Packaging solutions business Smurfit Kappa has highlighted the fact HFSS (high fat, sugar and salt) product ranges face a raft of challenges requiring key preparation from manufacturers to meet required standards, reports Neill Barston.

The government has already responded to sector lobbying in pushing back the implementation date of the new legislation from this April to the start of next month – which will restrict promotions on ranges perceived as being less healthy options – including confectionery and snacks.

As a result, positioning of such goods will now have to  comply with the HFSS legislation changes set to be introduced in October, with the move applying to both in-store and ecommerce goods.

According to Smurfit Kappa, the new guidelines, which are being brought in to promote healthier lifestyles amid an ongoing obesity crisis, will impact on the advertising and positioning of ranges in supermarkets.  A change to the rules surrounding much-criticised concerning BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free) and 50% off deals will follow in October 2023.

Consequently, tempting displays of sweets and snacks at the checkout have moved to the aisles, and the placement of other products has also been affected- meaning that manufacturers have to raise their game accordingly in terms of using striking packaging that captures consumers’ attention.

In response, Smurfit has developed its Shelf Smart merchandising service, enabling its customers to benefit from its packaging and design expertise, allowing comparison with how the sales of goods fare against  competitors. As the company noted, it works with clients to provide the tools to promote brands, above all the others, on a crowded supermarket shelf. Its 3D store visualiser creates a virtual shopping environment so you can see for yourself how your product literally stacks up against your competitors in the aisle. It’s the ultimate try before you buy.

Furthermore, linked to this, according to the business, research shows that 8/10 of customers will walk away from a retailer due to unsustainable packaging. This affects both online and in-store products – with Smurfit Kappa packaging being 100% sustainable, its environmental credentials aim to help brands retain existing customers and win new ones, those who placing such considerations at the heart of their purchasing.

In addition, the business said that manufacturers needed to ensure their ranges are retail ready, with easily identifiable packaging, as well as being relatively easy to open, and later dispose of when no longer needed.

Smurfit Kappa said: “Our packaging makes it easy for store workers and consumers to spot and recognise your products through unique and fresh designs. By using various printing techniques, including flexo, litho and preprint, your packaging will catch your customers’ eye and give your products the best chance of ending up in their baskets – in-store and online.

“The HFSS legislation need not be seen as an industry setback. This might be the moment you have been waiting for, the catalyst for change and a chance to refresh your brand. Switch from plastic to sustainable packaging, and your customers will applaud and reward you for it. Research shows that 64% of consumers will only buy products if wrapped in sustainable packaging, give them what they want and make sure you’re not alienating your brand from almost two-thirds of the market.”


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