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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

HM Revenue & Customs
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Items benefiting from the relief: what is food?: food ingredients and additives: flavourings

Natural flavourings, such as herbs and spices, have always been considered food. For the sake of equity, zero-rating also extends to artificial flavourings provided they:

  • are used solely or predominantly (in the particular form in which they are supplied) in the manufacture of food; and
  • are essential to the making of that particular food.

A product such as rose water, which might be used as a flavouring or a cosmetic, would not generally be classed as food, and its liability is determined by the way it is held out for sale.