OPMA: Re-Assignment of Price Look-Up Codes

The long term objective of the IFPS [International Federation for Produce Standards] is to improve supply chain efficiency of the global fresh produce industry through developing, implementing and managing harmonized international standards. As the adoption of price look-up codes (PLU) has gained traction, the IFPS has committed to transitioning the previously unused ‘8’ prefix to accommodate an increase in varieties of fresh produce items as they enter the market. The transition comes at a time when the demand for the voluntary codes, used for price identification at retail, is increasing in North America, Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand and more recently, Mexico.

The voluntary PLU system has been utilized by retailers since 1990 for pricing, inventory control and sales data. A change in the criteria used by IFPS to determine PLU code eligibility has made acquiring the unique codes somewhat easier – generally speaking, the main requirement is based on ensuring the item is a unique variety and is readily available for multiple companies to produce and market to consumers. IFPS has also eliminated the stipulation that patented items were ineligible.

Though the ‘8’ prefix (83000 – 84999) was once reserved for GMO produce items, the prefix was never used at retail. The industry had exhausted every attempt to secure additional number ranges to use until now. This will yield one thousand additional PLU numbers to be used in future years. This will not in any way impact the current use of the ‘9’ prefix (93000-94999) which will continue to be used to indicate organic produce items.

Source: The Ontario Produce Marketing Association
October 2015