Restrictions which limited the range of sizes that pre-packaged goods could be packed in (with the exception of wines and spirits) have been removed.
This means that you can now package bread in any size. However, you may continue using traditional quantities of 400 grams multiples if you wish. Whatever package size you decide to use, it must be clearly displayed on the packaging.
All bread that is sold in quantities weighing over 5 grams and less than 25 kilograms must now be packaged using the average system of quantity control. For example, for a 400 gram loaf this would mean:
- the average loaf must weigh at least 400 grams
- at most one in 40 loaves can weigh less than 388 grams
- no loaf can weigh less than 376 grams
You must also allow for weight loss as loaves dry out. Loaves displayed for sale must meet their weight targets at all times.
For more information on the average system of control, see the page in this guide on selling fixed-weight packaged goods.
Responsibility for compliance with the new rules rests with the person baking or finishing the baking process, not with the person packaging the goods.
Retailers who wish to have their bread treated under the minimum system rather than the average system must notify their local Trading Standards office. The bread must still be checked to ensure it is at least the weight stated.
Northern Ireland Trading Standards officers can advise you. They also make occasional checks to make sure you're following the rules. If you break the rules you could face a large fine.
Non-packaged (‘unwrapped’) bread remains outside the scope of the new rules and continues to be treated under the specified quantities rules.Unwrapped bread can only be sold when one of the following applies:
- the quantity (weight) of the bread is indicated on a ticket displayed right beside that loaf
- there is a readily available notice listing the forms of unwrapped loaves of bread for sale, including the quantity
There are exemptions. The requirements don’t apply to:
- unwrapped loaves in quantities of 400g multiples
- unwrapped loves that weigh 300g or less
- bread supplied to be consumed on the buyer’s premises when the contract states each delivery will be over 25kgs altogether and will be weighed upon delivery.