- Price Look-Up code
Price Look-Up codes, commonly called PLU codes, PLU numbers or PLUs, are identification numbers affixed to
produceand other products in grocery stores and supermarketsto make check-out and inventory controleasier, faster, and more accurate. The code is a four or five-digit number, currently in the 0-4999 range, identifying the type of bulk produce, usually including the variety. Organic produce is denoted by a five-digit number whose first digit is 9 (e.g. 94011 for organic yellow bananas); an 8 prefix indicates genetically modified food. The codes have been in use since 1990. Currently, there are over 1300 universal PLU codes assigned [ [http://www.plucodes.com/faqs.aspx IFPS FAQ. Accessed July 17, 2008] ] . Use of PLU codes eliminates the need for grocery store checkers to identify each variety of produce visually. This advantage is especially important with the growth of the organic produce market; organic and conventional oranges, for example, may look the same but have very different prices.
The system is administered by the
International Federation for Produce Standards, an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association[ [http://www.plucodes.com/ IFPS website. Accessed July 17, 2008] ] .
Price look-up codes are generally printed on small stickers or tags, and are considered inconvenient by some. Various new technologies are under consideration, including etching using
lasers and printing or "tattooing" using ink made from substances such as blueberryjuice. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/19/dining/19fruit.html?ei=5090&en=3a2eb1eaf127773a&ex=1279425600&pagewanted=print "Tired of Prying Off Stickers? Tattooed Fruit Is on the Way"] " The New York Times", July 19, 2005]
Universal Product Code- another system for identification of consumer products
* [http://www.innvista.com/health/foods/plucodes_abc.htm Alphabetical listing of common PLU Codes]
* [http://www.innvista.com/HEALTH/foods/plucodes_123.htm Numerical listing of common PLU Codes]
* [http://www.plucodes.com/ The International Federation for Produce Coding (IFPC)]
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