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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

Excepted items: snack products: prawn crackers


Items packaged for human consumption without further preparation (that is, sold in retail packs) and made from potato, potato flour, potato starch or from the swelling of cereals or cereal products are standard-rated.

However, prawn crackers made from non-cereal or non-potato flour are zero-rated as they do not fall within the law under excepted Item 5. For instance, tapioca flour is commonly used to make prawn crackers, and such crackers would be zero-rated.

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Prawn crackers sold in a restaurant as part of a meal to eat in are standard-rated under note 3(a) as catering, regardless of what the prawn crackers are made from.

However, where prawn crackers are supplied as part of a take-away meal they may be freshly cooked, but they are normally eaten cold so are not considered to be hot food within Group 1. The liability then will be determined by what the crackers are made from.

This is regardless of the size of the packaging or of the cracker.