Price look-up code
Price look-up codes, commonly called PLU codes, PLU numbers, PLUs, produce codes, or produce labels, are identification numbers affixed to produce in grocery stores and supermarkets to make check-out and inventory control easier, faster, and more accurate. The code may be a four or five digit number. The four digit PLU codes for produce are assigned randomly within the 3000 and 4000 series, identifying the type of bulk produce, and often including the variety. The four digit codes are used for conventionally grown produce.
The prefix of "9" would be placed in front of the four digit conventionally grown PLU code for organic produce. In the future, the 83000 and 84000 series will be used; however, unlike the "9", the leading "8" will have no significance.
The codes have been in use since 1990, and there are over 1400 PLU codes assigned. 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 (IFPS), a global coalition of fruit and vegetable associations, formed in 2001, "as equal partners to pursue the task of introducing a global standard for the use of international Price Look-Up (PLU) numbers".
PLU codes are used primarily in retail grocery stores or supermarkets, where they are keyed into a point of sale system by a cashier, or by the customer at a self checkout machine, while the produce is being weighed on a scale. PLU codes can also be defined by the individual retailer, or location, and used in place of barcodes for a variety of reasons.
- Universal Product Code, another system for identification of consumer products
- Stock-keeping unit (SKU) codes, another system
- Packaging and labeling
- The International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS) website
- User Guides (international Price Look-Up numbering scheme) http://www.ifpsglobal.com/Portals/22/IFPS%20Documents/PLU%20User%20guides/PLU%20Users%20Guide_Aug%202015.pdf
- A complete list of all currently assigned PLU numbers: http://www.ifpsglobal.com/Identification/PLU-Codes/PLU-codes-Search