HFSS trials during the festive period – Test and Learn

15 Dec,2021

In October 2022, new government legislation on the advertisement of high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) comes into force in England.

New methods are needed to ensure product availability, space and visual opportunities on shelves enable sales growth. The answer and best form of armour right now is data in the hands of the right people… and we’ve got an abundance of both!

Tactical Solutions are here to be the eyes and ears for your brand. We’re out in the field every day, armed with mobile devices that enable us to assess and digitally capture product displays and availability, liaising with retail staff to resolve issues and keep product availability in tip-top condition.

By going into stores on behalf of brands, we’re able to show what might need to change. Audits and insights are invaluable in preparation for the change in legislation. Our data led solution, allows us to understand the trends behind the data so that we can send the right person, to the right store at the right time, ensuring brands win at fixture through maximum availability, capacity, and visibility.

Store Trials in Top 4 grocery retailers

Over recent months our Field Team have continued tracking the changes and progress across Top 4 HFSS trial stores to understand how the retailers are going to manage these changes across all stores in October next year.

Now wouldn’t it be great if they had adopted the same approach to give us real insight to how this works in reality. Well unfortunately there still appears to be a ‘testing and learning’ strategy going on across the trial stores to really figure out exactly what are the best solutions and what financial impacts these changes will bring.

What we can share with you, however is how they‘ve all been preparing in these stores in the run up to Christmas…

Christmas, but not how we know it

We’re accustomed at this time of year to see confectionary dominating store openings and power aisles, whereas in HFSS trial stores we’ve seen Beer, Wines & Spirits and gift sets taking their place. These higher price point items could drive overall sales value in stores, however certainly sales volume, compared to the traditional boxes of chocolates, will decrease.

BWS FSDUs found at store front   Gift set FSDUs in power aisle

Stuck in the middle

We’ve seen some centre aisle promo plinths moved to in-fixture plinths. In relating categories this feels a good fit, however in non-related categories this adjustment may take some getting used to for customers, especially when they’re searching for specific products down aisles, it’s a bit disorientating.

A new way to promote key offers   Promo products squeezed in-between

Please mind the gap

Quite a few gondola and promo ends simply feel like they’ve been left behind! It’s amazing to see what an impact these spaces have, compared to when they become a blank canvas. At least in some instances we’ve seen stores try to be creative in filling them – Can I help you?

Blank promo end   Vacant promo end by fridges   Can I help you - signage

Going nuts!

It will come as no surprise that those convenience snacks that don’t fall into the HFSS category are enjoying the extra space, this is particularly the case with nut based and healthy snacks (LFSS). We expect to see a lot more of this as the trials continue in the New Year.

Christmas classics no longer a promotional feature   Nut based snacks taking up prime positioning

A clean approach

Although not the most typical alternative, personal care products and centre store products will be a winner going forward. Some items more than others might be the obvious choices though.

Toilet paper promo ends   Winter warmers - kindling display


Fruit juices, frozen fruit and meat-free options are all enjoy prime positioning in these latest store layouts. This health-conscious trend should continue to work favourably for these categories, particularly in the early months following New Year.

Fresh juices on gondola ends   Meat free gondola end

A quick health check

As a final grab and go, we see any remains of a sweet treat removed in replacement with key pharmaceutical products and sugar-free gum. In other instances, fridges and freezers have also been spotted, seeing another win for the Beer, Wines and Sprits category.

Pharmaceuticals found by the checkout    Freezer by checkout

Tactical Solutions to this headache

Find out how our field teams and powerful technology could arm you with the insights you need to make the big calls over the next few months and beyond.

Contact us to find out more hello@tacticalsolutions.co.uk