Home > Shopping > Can Multipack Items Be Separated?

Can Multipack Items Be Separated?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 3 May 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Food Supermarket Shopping Food Shopping

Anyone who’s gone food shopping in the supermarket will undoubtedly have noticed that some items come in multipacks, with several of it item in a single, wrapped package. The outlay might be higher on, say a four-pack of baked beans than a single tin, but the price per tin will be lower.

Certainly, if you’re feeding a family, they can be a good value, since that multipack of crisps, for instance, will vanish quickly enough, or of soft drinks. In food terms they can represent excellent value. They’re in all manner of things – even those tomatoes packed together, or the pack of two lettuces in the produce department is really a multipack.

What Makes a Multipack?

The idea of putting several of the same item together in a pack and charging a little less per item isn’t a new one, it’s been around for decades. But it’s only in more recent years that it’s become more popular in supermarkets, and manufacturers have widened their scope to make them an important part of marketing, and the popularity has increased, too. Now it’s common to find a certain amount of supermarket shelf space given up to multipacks, be it of tins or cans of beer.

When Might You Want To Separate a Multipack?

If you’re shopping for food but just want a single item – it might be something you don’t use often, or something that would go off before you could go through an entire multipack – and there are none of the item singly, but multipacks on the supermarket shelf, you might be tempted to break one open and just take what you need. It’s certainly been done many times before. With produce, for instance, the supermarket employee might even help you.

The question is, perhaps, should you do it? In most instances, the answer is yes, as long as you’ve asked and there’s no more of the item available singly in the stockroom (don’t just rip open the multipack and take what you need). Then it’s fine, and the supermarket would probably be perfectly happy, as they’ll make a sale they might not otherwise have made, although they wouldn’t want it to be a common occurrence, since it would interfere with stock, and also with profits.

When Not To Separate a Multipack

These days, some items are made specifically for multipacks and can’t be sold separately. If you take a pack home and open it up, it will be on the tin or the packet. In those instances, it’s impossible to sell the items of food or drink individually, and the cashier won’t be able to put them through the checkout (you also see it with cigarettes sold in packs on 100 or 200 in the supermarket or elsewhere).

Why is it that way? The manufacturers set it, because although the unit cost might be a little lower in the supermarket, they’re selling more of the item in one shot, which is much better for them.

Of course, with produce it’s not a problem, nor with many items. But the next time you’re shopping for food and about to open up that multipack, just think – will you even be able to buy it singly? It’s best to ask a supermarket employee first.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
We want to sell ice lollies/ice creams at our school fair, but have been told its illegal to sell them from a multipack. Is this true?
Em - 3-May-19 @ 3:13 PM
Can pubs and bars sell on multi pack cans of juice at full bar prices?
Crazydrew - 29-Apr-19 @ 10:30 PM
My friend and I went to a cafe, he didn't have any milk to go with our breakfast, so we couldn't have a tea or coffee that was included, so we had a tin of juice and it said mult pack not to be sold separate, he still charged full price for both the breakfasts(and it was disgusting) and a further £1.50 for each tin of juice, I would just like to know if he was correct for charging for the tins of juice? Even though they were part of a multi pack.
Bitch - 29-Mar-19 @ 4:36 AM
Jerrysmumma - Your Question:
I just bought a 'chocolate bar bouquet' for my husband's birthday from a flower shop. All the chocolate bars in this all have 'multi pack bar- not for resale' on them. They do have allergy advice on the packaging but no nutritional advice. We're they allowed to sell this to me using multi pack bars?

Our Response:
Yes they can sell you them. It's quite unusual even for multipack items not to show ingredients, so it might be worth contacting the manufacturer about that. Ask the bouquet seller if they can provide nutritionalinformation with the bouquet as this will almost certainly be available on the outer packaging of the multipack.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 6-Aug-18 @ 12:31 PM
I just bought a 'chocolate bar bouquet' for my husband's birthday from a flower shop. All the chocolate bars in this all have 'multi pack bar- not for resale'on them. They do have allergy advice on the packaging but no nutritional advice. We're they allowed to sell this to me using multi pack bars?
Jerrysmumma - 4-Aug-18 @ 3:11 AM
Property Developer & slightly opinionated but also admits when got it wrong
garry Selby - 7-Jul-18 @ 10:14 AM
I don't understand people's sense of outrage? If you were happy to pay the price for the item individually what difference does it make to you if it is from a multi-pack or not? Seems like the only thing people are bitter about is a shop keeper making a bit more money per item over the manufacturer. I personally would rather give the shopkeeper the extra profit margin over coca-cola or the likes.
Ryan - 21-May-18 @ 5:21 PM
I done my shopping at Tesco,got home and the one bag of monster munch says, multipack bag not to be sold for individual sale.can they do this or should I go back to tesco.
Tree - 25-Aug-17 @ 10:49 AM
Stuart - Your Question:
I have just eaten In an Indian restaurant and the bottles of Cobra lager had a label on saying "multi pack not to be sold seperate" but I was sold these bottle drinks separate at £2.95 each , far too expensive anyway , are they allowed to do this ???

Our Response:
Yes they are as long the relevant information (nutritional etc) is there for the consumer.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 4-Aug-17 @ 2:44 PM
I have just eaten In an Indian restaurant and the bottles of Cobra lager had a label on saying "multi pack not to be sold seperate" but I was sold these bottle drinks separate at £2.95 each , far too expensive anyway , are they allowed to do this ???
Stuart - 2-Aug-17 @ 10:09 PM
my local school sell mult pack ice lollies individually are the allowed to ..
ali - 29-May-17 @ 7:41 PM
Business selling multi packet sweets, crisps and juice in vending machine and not advertising multi packets and NO SELLING THEM ANY CHEAPER!!!!!! MONEY GRABBERS ALL THE WAY!!!! THIS COMPANYNEEDS DONE FOR THIS FALSE ADVERTISING!!!!
Clare - 23-Feb-17 @ 5:17 PM
I've just gone in to a local mini store and paid 99p for a can of Heinz spaghetti the chap pretended to scan the item and then asked for 99p...when I got home I noticed on the label it's says "MULTIPACK" is this allowed?
Wiggy - 20-Feb-17 @ 2:45 PM
My works canteen sales lots of crisps and chocolate from vending machine..I noticed that they are all from multi packs which state not to be sold separately can asda do this
Ma - 26-Nov-16 @ 4:14 PM
Dave - Your Question:
I am the secretary of a social club who have purchased some 30 can multi packs of Coke Cola from JTF wholesaler we sell them to our members one who has said we can't sell them as they have part of a multipack. How do we stand on this matter are we allowed to sell them separate.Dave - 28-Oct-16 @ 5:48 PM

Our Response:
As long as each can contains the appropriate information (nutritional, weight etc) there is no problem with this.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 8-Nov-16 @ 10:46 AM
If I buy a packet of 8 KitKat can I sell them individually or not.It does not say anywhere on the packaging that these items should not be sold desperately.
shorts - 7-Nov-16 @ 4:04 PM
I am the secretary of a social club who have purchased some 30 can multi packs of Coke Cola from JTF wholesaler we sell them to our members one who has said we can't sell them as they have part of a multipack. How do we stand on this matter are we allowed to sell them separate. Dave - 28-Oct-16 @ 5:48 PM
Dave - 6-Nov-16 @ 11:41 AM
I am the secretary of a social club who have purchased some 30 can multi packs of Coke Cola from JTF wholesaler we sell them to our members one who has said we can't sell them as they have part of a multipack. How do we stand on this matter are we allowed to sell them separate.
Dave - 28-Oct-16 @ 5:48 PM
the link provided for the trading standards blog is broken. Please provide adequate information HERE on this site.
RG - 10-Oct-16 @ 10:35 PM
Makes no sense total contradicting advice above some saying legal others illegal
Bobthenob - 4-Sep-16 @ 8:03 PM
I bought two Magnums. On way home noticed difference in wrapping colours which seemed odd so decided to check date. Checked wrapper and it indicated "not to be sold individually." There were NO ingredients and NO sell by date. They are now eaten and tasted fine but what should be done?
mick - 27-Jul-16 @ 3:34 PM
The shop across the road from me splits multipacks.I went to buy a Magnum ice-cream yesterday and for starters it was tiny but was charged at full price.So what is the point of having a do not separate sign on products if you are not going to fine people for selling multi-pack items for the price of single items especially when they are smaller?
belintte - 23-Jul-16 @ 11:33 AM
J - Your Question:
I went into a shop today in Horsforth and purchased a Kellogg's Special K cereal bar with a price ticket of 60p on it. When I looked at the packaging it clearly said on it 'not to be sold seperately ' is this legal?

Our Response:
Yes, please see the responses to other comments below.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 5-Jul-16 @ 2:42 PM
I went into a shop today in Horsforth and purchased a Kellogg's Special K cereal bar with a price ticket of 60p on it. When I looked at the packaging it clearly said on it 'not to be sold seperately 'is this legal?
J - 4-Jul-16 @ 6:55 PM
Steve - Your Question:
Hi I understand the comments from the above questions for and against. However my local shop is selling multi pack chocolate I.e Mars bars, whispers etc at 60p and 70p and we all know multi bars are smaller, but we have noticed that the nutritional info is not on the wrappers. Is this still aloud!? Many Thanks

Our Response:
Nutritional information is recommended but not required by law. What IS required however, is a list of ingredients which you will usually find even in multipack items.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 29-Apr-16 @ 9:57 AM
Hi I understand the comments from the above questions for and against. However my local shop is selling multi pack chocolate I.e Mars bars, whispers etc at 60p and 70p and we all know multi bars are smaller, but we have noticed that the nutritional info is not on the wrappers. Is this still aloud!? Many Thanks
Steve - 27-Apr-16 @ 6:36 PM
D - Your Question:
Can a small business sell multi packs in singles? For example.12 pack of walkers crisps £1.591.59/12 = 0.13Then a shop sells them for 0.60p which is the average This is much cheaper than wholesale prices and a great help to these small sandwich shops etc.I hear it is more a moral decision than a legal one.

Our Response:
As long as all the requisite information (nutritional info, sell by date etc) is included on each individual pack, there is no real law to prevent this.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 15-Apr-16 @ 2:35 PM
Can a small business sell multi packs in singles? For example. 12 pack of walkers crisps £1.59 1.59/12 = 0.13 Then a shop sells them for 0.60p which is the average This is much cheaper than wholesale prices and a great help to these small sandwich shops etc. I hear it is more a moral decision than a legal one.
D - 13-Apr-16 @ 5:47 PM
What is the point in putting the 'not to be sold separately' banner on cans of coke if they are then allowed to be sold separately? After reading the comment above from Olive I am disgusted to think that it is ok for companies to do that. I understand they need to make their money but why not buy in bulk at a normal rate where they can make money rather than buying them even cheaper in a multipack and then selling to the consumer (us!!) for a lot higher than we would normally pay! Seeing a bright red banner on a can saying that suggests selling them individually is wrong! So why does this article say this is ok!!
Han - 20-Aug-15 @ 10:27 PM
@Olive. Yes it's legal...check out this this Trading Standards Blog
ConsumerRightsExpert - 14-Jan-15 @ 12:30 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Dee
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    Hi, We bought my son a fiat 500s from a well-known car dealer in London 2 months ago It has been back to him now for a sensor…
    13 January 2020
  • Mike
    Re: Leasing A Car Explained
    I have leased a new Audi A7 over 4 years, had it 10 months from new. It has developed issues when driving and 8 electrical faults on…
    9 January 2020
  • Gen
    Re: Gardener Overcharged Us: Can We Refuse to Pay?
    We asked a drainage company to assess a flooding problem in our basement. We chose a company that clearly…
    9 January 2020
  • Jenny
    Re: What If Your Plumber Makes Mistakes?
    Hello, Recently we had an emergent situation where our main sewage line was blocked with tree roots, verified by a…
    9 January 2020
  • valep88
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    Good evening, I bought a second hand Nissan Juke 2011, 1.6petrol with 80k mileage. After 3 months of use, roughly after 3k…
    7 January 2020
  • Linette
    Re: Spa Treatments: Your Consumer Rights
    I had eyelash extension at a WOW BAR and within 24 hours experienced itching and burning, by the time I went back to the…
    7 January 2020
  • Happy Traveler
    Re: Booking a Holiday - What if it Goes Wrong
    Hi, I booked a flight from Joburg to Cape Town with an online travel agent, over the phone in the UK. The Agent…
    7 January 2020
  • Dolly mixture
    Re: Dealing With Cowboy Builders
    I employed john houghton of rightway construction Bridgnorth to do an extension on my house in August 2019, everything he did was…
    7 January 2020
  • NowWiser
    Re: Dealing With Cowboy Builders
    We asked Craig Best of Heat Save, Bishop Auckland to fit a gas fire/surround. His quote asked for 50% up front and the rest on…
    3 January 2020
  • Jackie
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    I bought a Toyota yaris on 31/12/19 and was unsure about the gear box not working smoothly, we did mention this to the dealer…
    2 January 2020