Bans on Online and TV Advertising
of ‘Less Healthy Food and Drink’ Products pushed back to October 2025
In England, HFSS (High in Fat, Sugar, and Salt) products are subject to various legal restrictions aimed at promoting healthier eating and reducing the prevalence of obesity and related health issues. In this blog, we delve into the regulations surrounding HFSS products, with a focus on advertising and promotions.
England enforces a ban on the advertising of HFSS products in children’s media and during children’s programming. Additionally, stringent regulations apply to online advertising of HFSS products, particularly if the primary audience comprises children. Starting from October 2025, further restrictions will be implemented across the UK, including:
Advertising Opportunities for Brands
The UK government intends to permit brand advertising as long as no identifiable “Less Healthy Food and Drink” (LHFD) products appear in the advert. This is to ensure the brands themselves are not pigeonholed as synonymous with LHFD products and the brand has the freedom to move to healthier offerings. The following types of advertising are considered acceptable:
Product Positioning Restrictions
Brands must reevaluate the most effective placements for their products since HFSS products cannot be prominently positioned in high-traffic areas, such as store entrances or aisle ends. Experiment with new store locations and marketing channels to ensure continued effective marketing strategies by the deadline.
Restrictions on Price Promotions
The government in England have proposed restrictions on price promotions for HFSS products to limit certain promotional tactics which will come into play on 1 October 2025. The restrictions will be on:
Promotion Opportunities for Brands
Many confectionery brands have turned to price promotions through loyalty programme discounts and innovative product development to navigate the challenges posed by HFSS and LHFD regulations and the rising cost of living.
While there may not be specific rulings against brands, the increasing awareness of health concerns related to HFSS foods has led to regulatory actions and industry initiatives to encourage healthier options and marketing practices. It is essential for brands to stay informed about these regulations and prepare accordingly to align their marketing strategies with the changing landscape.
To thrive in this shifting regulatory environment where consumers are increasingly caring about their health and wellness, brands should proactively seek opportunities to offer healthier products and adopt responsible marketing practices. Embracing innovation and consumer health consciousness can be key to long-term success in the food industry.
About the Author:
Davina Gami is a Paralegal in the PromoVeritas Legal Team.
This blog is not a substitute for legal advice, nor is it intended to be an exhaustive guide on all the regulations relating to HFSS or LHFD in the UK. Rather, it aims to simplify complex provisions into simple legalese and highlight areas of potential concern to promoters. This blog was last updated on 10/10/2023.