Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by Lee Mannering
Following up on yesterday’s post about country of origin labeling, I thought I’d share some new information about another industry labeling topic – albeit more on the supply chain efficiencies side of the industry.
Currently there is a gradual transition underway from generic Universal Product Codes (UPCs) to company-specific UPCs. Currently, UPC numbers begin with a generic, PMA-assigned prefix, followed by an item reference number and check digit to identify packaged produce. It’s expected that retailers will begin to require a more specific UPC where the prefix is assigned by GS1 US, a global standards organization for multiple industries.
The specific UPC will identify the item and the company of origin, enabling retailers to differentiate between different brands of product in the same category. As a result, retailers are able to determine sell-through and shrink data by brand.
To help industry through this transition period, we are developing a UPC migration tool that will be available June 1. In the meantime, we’ve added information on this topic to our website.
We also have several other tools available to industry, including Databar Online. This tool, initially created in 2009, was created to allow distributors to communicate their item numbers to buyers, and allow buyers to download the information into their point-of-sale systems for loose and bulk items. Having recently undergone enhancement, Databar Online now delivers a more user-friendly experience, including a streamlined registration process and the ability to easily update records. Databar Online is currently available to the industry at large—PMA members receive discounted pricing. An instructional eLearning course on Databar Online will be available today, May 15.