A Simple Guide to the Sale of Packaged Goods in the UK

The word ‘retail scale’ can sound a bit old fashioned these days. It conjures up images of sweet shops and traditional meat counters, with big bronze devices ready to tot up your total. This is because, although commercial scales are still a big part of many businesses in Colchester, they’ve changed a great deal over the years.

They look different now and perform a lot more functions than they used to. In fact, in many instances, they have become fully integrated with digital tills and registers. So, it isn’t always obvious that they’re being operated at all. This is just a natural part of the digitisation of commercial markets, though it doesn’t mean that quality is any less of a priority.

This guide to the sale of packaged goods will explain the purpose of retail scales and why they are needed for secure, fair commerce.

The Rules and Regulations

In the UK, retailers of packaged goods must adhere to the Weights and Measures Regulations. This is a legal requirement and it designed to protect both businesses and their customers. It is basically a system of quality control and, consequently, retail scales form an important part of performance targets and internal policies.

While retailers cannot short measure customers, they have a certain amount of freedom to alter weights and quantities within a specified range. Once packaged, however, the weight of products can no longer be changed, so it is vital that internal measurements are accurate.

The Three Packers Rule

If your business sells packaged goods, it must comply with three key regulations. In this context, packaged goods refer to food and non-food items weighing between 5-25kg. Firstly, you are responsible for providing accurate and truthful representations of their weight.

You need premium retail scales to make sure this happens. Fortunately, it is easy to source high quality scales in Colchester, and many of the best models are fully digitised. They keep records of every transaction and are substantially more reliable than analogue devices.

The three rules are as follows. Packages do not have to be exactly the same weight, but any discrepancies must be so small that they are deemed negligible. Where approximate quantities are given, the actual quantity must not differ by more than one or two pieces.

Finally, no package, no matter its contents, can be short more than twice the margin of tolerable error. These rules are very important, as they protect customers from being short changed. They also help retailers to control the volume of product leaving their stores.

The Quality of Equipment

While there are no specific rules on what equipment you can use for weighing and measuring, retail scales must be of sufficient quality. They need to be sensitive enough to measure in small units so that proportions of tolerable error are correctly acknowledged and approved.

In most industries, businesses are obligated to keep records of measurement checks. This is when digital scales come in really handy, as there’s no need to make manual notes. They come with robust software, which links up to in store computers.

For more information on the benefits of digitised and mobile optimised retail scales, click here to visit CRS Epos. Or, call 01473 396037 to speak to the Colchester team and discuss your needs directly.

Crs Epos

From our large showroom we can offer an extensive range of equipment both new & fully reconditioned, thus ensuring you get the right equipment for the job. Our showroom is situated on the eastern side of Ipswich with easy parking.


View our showroom

Opening Hours

Monday - Friday 9.00am ~ 6.00pm
(Closed for lunch between 12.30pm ~ 2.00pm)
We are also usually open Saturday mornings between 9.30am ~ 12.00pm

01473 396 037



CRS Epos - 94 Rushmere Road - Ipswich - Suffolk - IP4 4JY

Copyright 2015 - Website by Unity Online

CRS EPOS

CRS EPOS