2 min read
25 May 2021

Compared to the erstwhile tax regime, taxes on most fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products have either lowered or remained the same. These include non-durable goods like packaged food, over-the-counter drugs, sanitary products etc. Earlier, indirect taxes like VAT were applied to FMCG goods.

Overall, the introduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax) has reduced the tax burden of these manufacturers. However, the GST has also impacted the FMCG sector with anti-profiteering issues. GST has been a mixed bag for the FMCG sector. To calculate the impact of GST on FMCG products precisely, businesses can utilise tools like the GST Calculator offered by Bajaj Finance. Here’s how:

The positive impact of GST on the FMCG industry

1. Reduced logistics cost
Due to the subsumption of taxes like VAT, Entry Tax, and OCTROI, post-GST, logistics cost for FMCG goods reduced by more than 2%, and for some products, by 5%. The reduction in logistics cost will increase the demand for these goods, as they are generally ‘fast-selling goods. This especially applies to non-branded products.

2. Greater efficiency in supply-chain management
Earlier, manufacturers were required to open a warehouse in every state to trade in those areas. However, with the introduction of GST, this is no longer necessary. Thus, the supply chain has become more efficient for FMCG goods.

Additional Read: What is Supply Chain Management (SCM)

3. An uptick in consumption
With reduced indirect and logistics costs, the final production of FMCG goods has now become cheaper. This has benefitted both manufacturers as well as end consumers. This has especially helped manufacturers in rural areas. Thus, there is a rise in demand for these goods.

The negative impact of GST on FMCG

1. Transitional credits
Earlier, FMCG companies had to set up units in different states to trade within them. The companies also received area-based exemptions on taxes. Therefore, FMCG companies had invested heavily in these states to open factories. However, with the introduction of GST, there’s a bit of ambiguity regarding tax refunds to these players.

Additional Read: GST advantages and disadvantages

2. Frequently changing rates
In November 2017, tax rejigged on 200 FMCG goods were announced by the GST Council. The lack of clarity in tax treatment has led to immense confusion for various FMCG goods. For example, there is obscurity on applicable taxes on a ‘buy one –get one free product. It is also unclear how FMCG companies must apply promotional schemes.

3. Anti-profiteering issues
The transitional credits and frequent changes in tax rates have given rise to anti-profiteering issues in the FMCG sector. Hence, companies have not been able to pass the benefits to customers directly. In addition, there continues to be ambiguity on how to compute and determine the manufacturer’s profit.

Given the positives and negatives of GST, it is a mixed bag for the FMCG sector. Increased clarity on taxes on promotional activities, constant tax rates and precise computation of tax and profit can make GST even more helpful for the growth of the FMCG sector.

GST rates on FMCG products

Below is a table illustrating the different GST rates on FMCG products:

GST Bracket

FMCG Products


Milk, curd, eggs, unbranded paneer, rice, wheat, oats and fresh vegetables


Branded paneer, honey, frozen vegetables, fried Areca nuts


Butter, cheese, ghee and dry fruits

With GST rates for most products being kept under the expected tax brackets, along with lower logistics costs and a better competitive market, the FMCG industry stands to benefit. Additionally, businesses can streamline their transportation processes by generating eway bill to comply with GST regulations and ensure smooth inter-state movement of goods.

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