Our latest data shows that food and drink categories falling under the high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) legislation saw sales growth of 8.6%, outpacing non-legislation categories, which had sales growth of 6.8%. HFSS legislation restricts where retailers can place products in store if they are above defined levels of fat, salt, and sugar.
This growth was primarily driven by sales of healthier products within the legislation-impacted categories. Healthier products also performed better in terms of volume, with a 1.9% increase in packs sold. By contrast, the volume of less healthy products within the legislation categories declined by 5.1%. The data compares the 12 weeks ending December 25, 2022, to the equivalent period in 2021.
Some of the sales growth can be attributed to inflation and households returning to a more normal Christmas post-Covid, but there are still clear signs that the ongoing trend towards healthier consumption was amplified in the latest Christmas period.
Consumers also bought healthier products more frequently, with a 2.6% increase in average purchase frequency. This lift suggests consumers are not only choosing healthier options but are also making them a more regular part of their diets.
Leading indicators of change
Our latest data showed several early indicators for ongoing change, including indicators of what will likely come for categories across the store.
A category that saw particularly strong growth was crisps and savoury snacks, which achieved 18% sales growth and a 4% increase in volume. In the 12 weeks leading up to December 21, 2021, 3% of sales in this category came from healthier products, whereas in 2022, that figure grew to 11%.
Additionally, 22% of households bought a healthier crisps and snack product in 2021, compared to 48% in the lead-up to Christmas this year. This delta suggests a significant year-on-year shift in consumer preferences towards healthier options in this category.
Millions at stake
Our latest data also points to £104 million shifting away from HFSS legislation products due to product switching. Healthier products within the legislation categories picked up £43m of this loss, while another £44m went to healthier products across the wider store. The rest mostly went to less healthy products in non-legislation categories, suggesting that healthier products generally benefitted.
Product shifting will be a critical one to watch, and these changes in the tail end of 2022 further confirm the growing market for healthier options. Manufacturers and retailers able to meet this demand will open up opportunities for growth.
Further restrictions on HFSS products are expected in October this year. They will place limits on volume promotions, such as “buy one, get one free”.