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
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®
Salad dressing mixes
Sesame seeds (for baking)
Starch (for cooking)
Sunflower seeds (sold for human
|Taxable foods and beverages|
Candy and confectionery
Cranberry juice cocktails
Dietetic carbonated beverages
Dietetic soft drinks
|Fountain drinks (e.g., sodas,
French burnt peanuts
Ice cream cones (made to order)
Ice cream sodas
Maple sugar candy
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.