With HFSS implementation just three months away, it’s important for affected retailers to start giving some thought to how display regulations will impact their store, says Aaron Patel, HFSS strategic project lead at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP). 

Although volume and multi-buy elements of the HFSS regulations have been delayed, restrictions on location and displays will still be coming into effect in October 2022. That’s just over three months away.

Retailers – who have 50 members of staff or more*, and/or whose stores are larger than 2,000 sq ft – will no longer be able display HFSS products close to store entrances (including food-to-go fixtures), on or close to aisle ends, or by the checkout. Visit the ACS website to see if you’re impacted at HFSS Regulations | ACS | The Association of Convenience Stores.

While the regulations will present many challenges, there are also opportunities too.

Continuing to drive impulse purchases

It’s important to look at what can fill the spaces on shelves when chocolate and snacks are relocated – and, crucially, what can continue to drive sales by meeting the same consumer need.

The soft drinks category continues to provide shoppers with much-needed refreshments and pick-me-ups and continues to grow. And the good news is that it’s far ahead of other HFSS-impacted categories, having successfully reduced sugar by more than 17% since 20171, and achieved 15% volume growth in the same period2.

The net result of all this is that 73% of soft drinks value sales already come from HFSS-compliant products3 – significantly more than other impacted categories. And that means there is a big opportunity to upweight low- and no-sugar variants of soft drinks as they can be displayed at the front of store, near the till point and on aisle ends.

Leading brands and successful reformulation

Since 2015, through reformulation, CCEP has reduced sugar across its portfolio by more than 25%4, and has introduced low and zero (non-HFSS impacted) variants from nearly all of its brands. As a result, 86% of its soft drink brand ranges will be non-HFSS come October5

This includes Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, the fastest-growing cola in GB6; Fanta, the number one carbonates brand in GB7; Monster Ultra, the fastest-growing and No.1 zero sugar energy drink in GB8; and Costa Coffee RTD, which is growing at more than twice the rate of the RTD coffee segment9.

And the company continues to offer new HFSS-friendly innovation to help drive even more low-sugar soft drinks sales. See gallery below for more details:

Giving shoppers choice

While the company is proud of its sugar reduction achievements, it is still backing best-sellers like Coca-Cola Original Taste and Monster Original, and is encouraging retailers to do the same.

Coca-Cola Original Taste is the no.1 soft drink in GB10, and the Monster Green variant alone is up almost £14m11 over the last year.

Locate these products in different areas of the store and support with clear communication to help shoppers find what they want.

Making the most of your space

1. Front of store chillers (if located within 3% of stores’ relevant floor area near door) 
Retailers should apply a HFSS-compliant planogram within chillers that are in a restricted location or where they have more than one chiller, move impacted products like Coca-Cola Original Taste and Monster Original, to the furthest chiller from the door to be out of scope of locational restrictions

2. Aisle end and till point displays 
Stores should consider displays of healthier options on aisle ends to replace chocolate, sugar confectionery and crisps. This could include take-home formats of soft drinks like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Fanta Zero Sugar.
There is also an opportunity to install small soft drinks chillers near till points to fill space left by the removal of non-HFSS compliant impulse categories. These should be more heavily weighted towards smaller formats that shoppers can pick up and enjoy on the go.

3. Main aisle
The main aisle will now be the core area for HFSS products, which includes promotional space and cross-category activity. But this should not be at the expense of healthier options, even though they’re available throughout the rest of the outlet. Best practice still applies at the fixture, whereby low-/no-sugar variants are displayed next to the originals.
Retailers can still use promotional bays in-aisle or display products like Coca-Cola Original Taste as part of take-home meal deals at different locations in-store.

4. Seasonal displays
With the new regulations coming in just ahead of Halloween, the Christmas holidays and the World Cup, retailers need to think about how they can still capitalise on these occasions. Front-of-store themed displays are often key to creating theatre in-store and driving more sales. And they can continue to do just that, with a range of HFSS-compliant products to choose from.
Fanta has become synonymous with Halloween and this year will be no different, with both the Fanta and Fanta Zero Sugar ranges being exempt from regulations. And of course Coca-Cola is all about football and the festive season.

Here to help

Staying close to sales data will be more important than ever for retailers looking to gauge their customers’ response to layout changes, and to inform future tweaks to ranging and display.

CCEP’s field sales teams understand the regulations and what they mean for stores of different sizes. And by combining their on-the-ground knowledge with category insight from our team they can advise retailers to help them implement changes successfully, actioning some of the tips we’ve outlined above.

Additional resources for retailers are hosted on our trade website, My.CCEP.com.

*employee numbers are based on all employees within a whole franchise business or symbol group a retailer may be part of, not just the people directly employed in their store(s)12

1+2 Kantar Take Home Nutritional Data 52 w/e 11.07.21 vs 11.07.117
3 Kantar Take Home % HFSS Spend, MAT 21.2.21
4 This is Forward FY2020
5 30 out of 35 brand ranges will be HFSS compliant - 86% (rounded up from 85.7%)
6-10 Nielsen Total GB MAT Val to 26.03.22
11 Nielsen Total GB excl. dis MAT val w/e 26.03.22
12 ACS Advice Brochure 2022 – HFSS Products: Promotion & Location Regulation