HFSS Score Calculator & Recipe Reformulation

NutriCalc gives you the ability to easily calculate HFSS scores for your recipes and then reformulate them.

Below you’ll find a list of our most frequently asked HFSS questions covering all the key ingredients, followed by how to use our built-in HFSS Score Calculator, and then how to reformulate a recipe to be Non-HFSS.
If you have any questions at all regarding HFSS, please get in touch with our experts by calling us on 01598 760673 or emailing us at: enquiries@nutricalc.co.uk

HFSS Frequently Asked Questions Explained 

What is HFSS?

HFSS, aka nutrient profiling, is a UK government marketing initiative to help combat obesity. Marketing of High Fat, Sugars and Salt (HFSS) foods, which are considered to be ‘less healthy’ or even ‘junk’ food, is being curtailed.

What do the HFSS restrictions cover?

Placement (positioned in prime store locations – e.g. end of aisles, checkouts, entrances, queues etc.), Advertising (on prime-time TV before the 9pm watershed, plus paid-for online platforms) and Volume Promotions (such as Buy One, Get One Free, 50% Extra Free etc.).

Has HFSS come into effect?

The restrictions on Placement came into effect from October 2022. However, the restrictions on Volume Promotions have been further delayed until October 2025, and the restrictions on Advertising have been delayed until January 2024. Despite this, some large retailers such as supermarkets have already started voluntarily applying the delayed restrictions as well.

What foods does HFSS apply to?

HFSS regulations only apply to the following food categories: Breakfast cereals, morning goods, confectionary, cakes, sweet biscuits, bars made with cereal, savoury snacks, nuts and/or seeds, ice cream and lollies, soft drinks with added sugars, desserts and puddings, sweetened yoghurt and fromage frais, pizza, potato products (such as chips), and ready meals. AND ONLY foods in these categories which score highly on the Government Nutrient Profile model – see examples in our Expert Paper.

How do I know if a product is HFSS?

You need to use a HFSS score calculator, such as featured in our NutriCalc software (known as the Nutrient Profile Report). Foods that score 4 or more points, and drinks that score 1 or more points, are categorised as HFSS. Products are allocated points for the so-called ‘bad’ nutrients: energy, saturated fat, sugars and sodium. Points are then deducted for so-called ‘good’ nutrients: protein and fibreAnd finally, there is a points deduction for the quantity of fruit, vegetables and nuts that the product contains.

What types of foods are usually HFSS? 

Please see the fruit pie, croissant, snack bar, milk chocolate and pretzels etc food type examples and their HFSS scores in our Expert Paper

Are there any other HFSS exceptions?

The regulations do not apply to ‘pre-packed food for direct sale’ (PPDS). This is food that is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to consumers and is in this packaging before it’s ordered or selected by the consumer, or food that is loose or non-prepacked.

Which retailers need to comply?

Retailers that meet BOTH the following criteria: 1) They have more than 50 employees (combining those in head office with store staff) – including stores which operate as part of a franchise agreement or are a member of a symbol group. 2) They have an internal ‘customer sales floor’ area of over 2,000 sq. ft. (185.8sqms).

Information sources: David F. Bartley PhD – NutriCalc, Department of Health & Social Care, ACS advice guide for retailers. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information above is accurate and up to date (when published in October 2022), NutriCalc accepts no liability for errors or omissions. E&OE.

HFSS Score Calculator (Nutrient Profile Report)

NutriCalc’s built-in HFSS score calculator (available to subscribers on our Premium plan, from as little as £130 for 1 month) will indicate if your recipe is categorised as HFSS.
To access the feature if you’re eligible, in your recipe’s REPORTS tab, click NUTRIENT PROFILE REPORT.

You will see a list of points awarded for each nutrient and also FVN* (Fruit, Vegetables and Nuts), together with the total score (as per below).

To be HFSS, a food recipe will score 4 or more points, and a drink recipe will score 1 or more points.

So, in the Beef and Tomato Pie example below, the recipe is HFSS as the total score is 10 due to the high energy, saturated fats and sodium/salt content.


*FVN (Fruit, Vegetables and Nuts): The values for the nutrients are already calculated by NutriCalc. For FVN, many items in the main NutriCalc catalogue have been labelled as FVN and will be included in the calculation. 

For the user’s own ‘My ingredients’ however, these need to be marked as eligible if they are. For a guide to how to mark your own custom ingredients as eligible, visit this support page.

Reformulating Recipes To Be HFSS

If your product is categorised as HFSS, such as the Beef and Tomato Pie example above, our NutriCalc software makes it easy to identify which specific recipe ingredients contain high saturated fats, sugars and sodium/salt.

By clicking the NUTRITION tab to view the nutrition summary, you can identify the ingredients.

Continuing with the Beef and Tomato Pie recipe example, the nutrition report (as per below) shows that the saturated fat is mostly originating from the Non-Hydro Margarine ingredient in the Pastry sub-recipe, and the Beef Mince in the Filling sub-recipe. Similarly, the sodium/salt is also originating from these ingredients.  

You can reformulate your recipe to be non-HFSS by reducing or substituting the offending ingredients, and then the software will automatically rescore the modified recipe. 

Duplicate your original recipe as many times as needed to experiment with different product recipe reformulations.

HFSS Beef and Tomato Pie

Full Telephone Support & Expert Advice If You Need It

If you need help with using our HFSS score calculator, identifying the offending HFSS ingredients in order to reformulate your recipe, or advice on correctly applying the UK government’s HFSS guidelines, don’t worry as our Premium Plan subscribers receive full telephone support during UK 9-5 office hours (as well as live chat & email support), so you’re in good hands.

HFSS Resources

We have a number of Expert Papers relating to the subject of HFSS and periodically we add new articles. For a list of all our related papers and to access them, please see the ‘HFSS’ term on our Glossary page.

If you have any questions at all regarding HFSS, please get in touch with our experts by calling us on 01598 760673 or emailing us at: enquiries@nutricalc.co.uk

Get in touch

Please use the form below to get in touch with us and one of our team will respond as soon as possible: