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HFSS latest summary

Advertising restrictions legal update
2 mins


September 2023

The introduction of the HFSS (High Fat, Salt, and Sugar) rules in England is a significant step towards promoting healthier eating habits and reducing the prevalence of obesity and related health issues. These regulations, which came into effect on 1 October 2022, aim to restrict the promotion and placement of certain foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt, or sugar in stores and their online equivalents.

Overall, the HFSS rules are an important step towards promoting healthier food choices. By limiting the promotion and placement of HFSS products in stores and online.

The regulations aim to make it easier for consumers to choose healthier options and improve their overall health and wellbeing.

An amendment to the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 was introduced in the form of the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2022, which was laid before Parliament on 29 September 2022. This amendment extended the restrictions on volume price promotions and free drink refills until 1 October 2023. The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 were laid before Parliament on 4 September 2023 and extend this date further until 1 October 2025.

Originally, these regulations were due to come into effect on 1 October 2022. However, the decision to extend the implementation date was prompted by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, which has put pressure on many households’ budgets. By delaying the introduction of these additional restrictions, the government aimed to provide some relief to consumers, who may be struggling to make ends meet during these difficult times.

The extended restrictions on volume price promotions and free drink refills aim to further reduce the consumption of HFSS products and encourage healthier food and drink choices. Volume price promotions refer to offers such as “buy one get one free,” while free drink refills are typically offered in restaurants and cafes. By restricting these types of promotions, the regulations aim to reduce the overall consumption of HFSS products and promote healthier alternatives.

The Health and Care Act 2022 introduced new advertising restrictions for HFSS food and drink in England, which were originally set to come into force on 1 January 2023. The new regulations aimed to restrict the advertising of HFSS products on TV and online, with prohibitions on TV advertising between 5.30am and 9.00pm, and paid-for advertising of HFSS products online.

However, in December 2022, the government announced that the implementation of this policy would be delayed until 1 October 2025.

The delay in the implementation of the new advertising restrictions has been met with mixed reactions. While some have welcomed the additional time for industry to prepare for the changes, others have expressed concern that the delay will lead to further promotion of HFSS products to children, exacerbating the obesity epidemic.

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