How to Get HFSS Products Approved on Amazon Ads

Picture of Adam Hindle

Adam Hindle

Managing Director



Time to Read

4 Minutes

pile of sweeties

Update June 2023: The suggestions outlined in this article are no longer applicable but other workarounds are available. Take a look at how we helped Martin’s Chocolatier here.

HFSS, (high in fat, salt or sugar), is the current headache of many sellers advertising on Amazon and Amazon reps alike. HFSS is a new policy, introduced by the UK government, to make businesses more accountable in informing consumers about the nutritional and (not so) healthy components of their food.

The primary objective of HFSS is to help consumers be more aware of their food and lifestyle choices, with a deep focus on children’s health. But how does it affect businesses and what does it really mean to us, Amazonians?

What is the HFSS policy?

With the HFSS policy, the Department of Health is asking businesses to mark their pre-packaged products against a scoring system that determines whether they are “healthy”, “less healthy” or “not in scope”.

This is based on the product’s nutrient content per 100g and compares the energy, sugar, saturated fat and against nutrients found in vegetables, fruit, nuts, fibre and protein.

Foods scoring 4 or more points, and drinks scoring 1 or more points, are classified as ‘less healthy’. These items will become restricted from all promotional activities and ad placements.

Who is affected by the HFSS policy?

To find out if you are, or will be, affected, check if you have any products under these categories, including:

  • Sweets like chocolates and candy
  • Drinks including juices and carbonated drinks
  • Snacks such as cookies, crackers, puddings and ice cream
  • Tea and coffee
  • Breakfast items such as bread, pastries, cereal, yogurt and energy bars
  • Herbal supplements, protein shakes

If you do, then you would have been notified that your products were not approved for advertising from October 2022, which is when HFSS came into effect. If you have ads running for these products, they were most likely suspended.

How do I get my adverts back up and running on Amazon?

If you want to continue advertising, Amazon will ask you to update your listings with the HFSS status, regardless of what scores you end up with.

You can find this by editing your product listing, going to the ‘Compliance’ tab and scrolling down to HFSS Status.

how to edit your product listing on Amazon

You can also do a bulk upload and make a partial update across all the listings in one go.

The HFSS policy comes with a number of exclusions for online sellers. If you happen to be in one of the below scenarios, then you can appeal for the restriction to be lifted on your products:

  • Brands who don’t have identifiable HFSS products in the adverts
  • Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) or businesses with 249 employees or fewer that pay to advertise
  • Business to Business (B2B)

Case study: Martin’s Chocolatier and HFSS

Martin's Chocolatier - Small Business Badge - Amazon

One of our Amazon clients, Martin’s Chocolatier, is an independent chocolate company that offers handmade chocolates sourced from a wide range of internationally-renowned artisan chocolatiers. When HFSS came into play, their Amazon adverts were affected.

The quickest way for us to get around this was to open a case on the basis that Martin’s Chocolatier is a small independent company with fewer than 50 employees. They also have a ‘small business’ badge on Amazon.

Within a week of opening a case, we started seeing our client’s products being approved for advertising. In a span of two weeks, all campaigns are back up and running.

What you can do

If you’ve been affected by HFSS and want to follow that same route as we did for Martin’s Chocolatier, you must provide a list of restricted ASINs and Campaign IDs housing these ASINs on advertising. Amazon will then manually review and approve the products.

Of course, Amazon is known to have its glitches and quirks so you may occasionally see products get flagged again. Just ensure you have provided the HFSS information and reopen a case with your exception reason.

How we can help

If you need any help with getting your account back on track, our Amazon specialists are always here to help. Get in touch here.

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