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Listings of Taxable and Exempt Foods and Beverages Sold by Food Stores and Similar Establishments
Tax Bulletin ST-525 (TB-ST-525) Printer-Friendly Version (PDF)
Issue Date: April 13, 2011


Introduction

Most food is exempt from sales tax. The exemption for food includes:

  • food products;
  • dietary foods;
  • health supplements; and
  • certain beverages.

Food must meet these conditions to be exempt from tax:

  • it must be sold for human consumption;
  • it must be sold unheated; and
  • it must be sold in the same form and condition, quantities, and packaging as is commonly used by retail food stores.

These foods and beverages, however, are not exempt from tax:

  • candy and confectionary;
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • soft drinks, fruit drinks, sodas, or similar beverages;
  • heated or prepared meals (sandwiches, salad bars, etc.); and
  • food or beverage sold for on-premises consumption.

Additional resources relating to sales of food and beverages (e.g., sales by restaurants, sales from vending machines, or sales of candy or sandwiches) are listed at the end of this bulletin.

Listings of taxable and exempt food and beverages

The charts below list some examples of taxable and exempt foods and beverages sold at retail food markets and similar establishments. (Note: Any brand name product shown in italics is included as an example and is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product.) 

Exempt foods and beverages

Arnold Palmer Half & Half®
Artificial sweeteners
Baby food
Bakery products
Baking products
Beefamato®
Boost®
Bouillon cubes
Bread
Brownies
Butter
Cereals
Chicory
Chocolate (for cooking purposes only)
Clamato Juice Cocktail®
Cocoa
Coconut
Coffee
Coffee creamers
Condiments (e.g., salt, pepper)
Cookies
Crackers
Cupcakes
Dehydrated fruit
Dehydrated vegetables
Diet foods (but not diet candy)
Diet substitutes
Diet supplements
Doughnuts
Dressings
Eggs and egg products
Ensure®
Fats
Fish and fish products
Flavorings (e.g., vanilla or almond
    extract)
Flour
Food coloring
Frozen desserts
Frozen dinners 

Fruit
Fruit juices containing 70% or more of
    natural fruit juice (unless carbonated)
Fruit Rollups®
Game (e.g., partridges, rabbits, wild
    turkeys)
Grain products
Granola bars
Gravies
Great Shakes®
Health bars
Health food
Health supplements
Herbs
Honey
Ice cream (prepackaged)
Iced coffee
Iced tea (frozen or liquid)
Iced tea mix
Instant breakfast mix
Jams (fruit preserves)
Jelling agents
Jellies
Ketchup
Lard
Leavening agents
Liquid diet products
Mayonnaise
Meats and meat products
Milk and milk products
Mustard
Non-stick cooking sprays
Nutrament®
Nuts and nut products (but not
    chocolate- or candy-coated or honey-
    roasted nuts)
Oils (cooking, salad)
Oleomargarine
Olives
Ovaltine®
Peanut butter
Peanuts

Pepper
Popcorn
Potato chips
Poultry
Poultry products
Preservatives
Pretzels
Quik®
Relishes
Salad dressing mixes
Salad dressings
Salt
Sandwich spreads
Sauces
Seafood
Seasonings
Sesame seeds (for baking)
Sherbet
Shortening
Slim-Fast®
Soup
Spices
Starch (for cooking)
Start®
Sugar
Sugar substitutes
Sunflower seeds (sold for human
    consumption)
Syrups
Tang®
Tea
Vanilla extract
Vegetables
Vegetable juices
Vegetable oils
V8 Juice®
Vitamins
Yeast

 

 

Taxable foods and beverages
5-Hour Energy®
Beer
Bottled water
Candied apples
Candy and confectionery
Caramel-coated popcorn
Caramels
Carbonated beverages
Carbonated water
Chewing gum
Chocolate candy
Chocolate-coated nuts
Chocolate-coated pretzels
Coated candy
Cocktail mixes
Collins mixer
Cranberry juice cocktails
Dietetic candy
Dietetic carbonated beverages
Dietetic soft drinks
Fountain drinks (e.g., sodas,
    milkshakes, etc.)
French burnt peanuts
Fruit drinks1
Fruit nectars1
Fruit punch1
Fudge
Gatorade®
Glazed fruit
Hi-C®
Honey-roasted nuts
Ice
Ice cream cones (made to order)
Ice cream sodas
Ice cubes
Jordan almonds
Kool-Aid®
Lemonade
Licorice

Maple sugar candy
Mineral water
Monster Energy Drink®
MiO Liquid Water Enhancer®
Nuts (chocolate or candy coated)
Orange Crush®
Pet foods2
Powerade®
Red Bull®
Rockstar Energy Drink®
Seltzer (water)
Soft drinks
smartwaterTM
Vegetable plants (used to grow food)
Vegetable seeds (used to grow food)
Vichy water
vitaminwaterTM
Yoo Hoo®

Coupons and food stamps

For information about foods and beverages purchased with coupons or food stamps, see Tax Bulletin Coupons and Food Stamps (TB-ST-140).  

 

1If product contains less than 70% real fruit juice.   (back)
2Pet food purchased for guide, hearing, and service dogs is exempt. See Tax Bulletin Exemptions Relating to Guide, Hearing, and Service Dogs (TB-ST-245).  (back)

Note: A Tax Bulletin is an informational document designed to provide general guidance in simplified language on a topic of interest to taxpayers. It is accurate as of the date issued. However, taxpayers should be aware that subsequent changes in the Tax Law or its interpretation may affect the accuracy of a Tax Bulletin. The information provided in this document does not cover every situation and is not intended to replace the law or change its meaning.
Updated: April 13, 2011