The Core (Swindon) Ltd v HMRC [2018] TC 06874 the FTT decided that for VAT, fruit and vegetable juices sold as a meal replacement were food and not beverages and therefore zero-rated.

  • The company ran a juice bar and sold mixed fruit and vegetable juice as part of a “juice cleanse programme”.
  • It was accepted that individual sales of the juices were were VATable beverages, like ordinary fruit juice.
  • It claimed that supplies made as part of the programme were zero-rated food.  
  • HMRC disagreed and the company appealed to the First Tier Tax Truibunal (FTT)

The FTT found that the juices were food and therefore zero-rated on the basis that they were perceived as meal replacements by customers, and the way they were held out for sale.


The Tribunal only ruled on the liability of the juices sold as part of a programme, not any individual sales of the juices, as the appellant had already accepted these were standard rated in previous discussions with HMRC. This shows the danger of conceding arguable points in discussions with HMRC too early.

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External links

The Core (Swindon) Ltd v HMRC [2018] TC 06874