Guide

Product labelling and packaging

Product labelling and packaging rules for retailers

There are special product labelling and packaging rules that retailers must follow. Legally, you must:

  • display clearly the price of goods
  • display the unit price of goods sold loose
  • use metric measures for unit pricing - note that some products can still be sold in imperial units (such as pints of beer and cider) and you can still provide the imperial measurement for other products providing you also give the metric equivalent
  • price in sterling
  • include VAT and any other taxes

The price must be marked in a way that is unambiguous, easily identifiable and clearly legible. The indication of price must be placed close to the product that it relates to and available to the customer without them having to ask for your assistance. You may use 'appropriate means', for example product labelling, shelf-edge marking or price lists.

Retailers must not give misleading information to consumers about product pricing. To do so is a criminal offence. 

Food and drink

If you sell food and drink as part of a service, for example in a pub or restaurant, you must display your prices. These must:

  • state the quantities
  • be clear when differences in quantity apply - eg when it is cheaper to buy a pint of beer than two half pints
  • include VAT

Pubs and restaurants legally must not omit information which the average customer needs to make an informed decision regarding a purchase.

It's an offence to use misleading labels. So, for example, you can't sell a scone and margarine as a 'scone and butter'.

Food that has been irradiated or contains raw milk also needs to be clearly labelled.

Special cases

There are many special regulations which apply to retailers selling specific food and drink products, for example sweets, eggs and sandwiches.