• Barcode Ireland Team

Random Weight grocery items and Price Embedded Barcodes

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

A simple, effective grocery solution.

Random-weight barcode grocery items

UPC-A and EAN-13 barcodes applied to a non-weighted item in grocery retail will be unique to that product. At the POS (Point Of Sale) this barcode will retrieve the product data and pricing from the stores inventory system where the information was originally captured.

What happens however, if the shop sells the same product, say, cheeses, charcuterie, meat, fruit or vegetables in a range of weights? The same barcode for a 500g item cannot be used on its 1kg equivalent!

How can a barcode be instantly printed in-store which identifies both the product and its price, for example, 0.690kg of ground beef mince or 1.50kg of golden delicious apples?

These barcodes are a type of ‘data embedded’ code and can appear in EAN-13, UPC-A or UPC-B symbologies. The barcode comprises both a product code, which will indicate the cost-per-weight-unit for that specific product type, as well as a pricing indicator calculated from the weight of the specific package. Furthermore, the name of the product, the weight purchased and the price charged can all be displayed on the customer receipt.

The barcode format

The barcode begins with a special prefix which identifies it a weight-related item. The standard prefix used globally is generally 2 or 02 and may be obtained from GS1 (Global Standards 1). This informs the Electronic Cash Register (ECR) that a weight-related price should be charged. 

Following the prefix, a PLU, (Price Look Up) code is used which identifies the type of merchandise, for example, gourmet cheddar cheese. These codes are usually displayed at the pricing scale in-store for entry by the sales assistant when measuring the weight of an item. 

These PLU codes are conventionally 4 or 5 digits in length and denote in what manner, for example, fruit and veg are grown:

  • a 5 digit code prefixed with a 9 - organically grown

  • 5 digit prefixed with an 8 - genetically modified

  • 4 digit prefixed with a 3 or 4 - conventionally grown

Larger retailers insist upon implementation of these prefixes due to pressure from consumers.

Following the PLU, a check digit is employed to validate that the item type has been identified correctly, in other words, that the barcode has scanned successfully.

This is digit is mathematically calculated by the scanning software. The the pricing indicator is then displayed. This is calculated from the cost-per-kilogram multiplied by the weight of the item. In countries where the Pound or Euro is used for example, a 4-digit code may be sufficient to cover the possible highest price.

And as with all retail barcodes, a final check digit is added to verify the entire barcode.

The 5 digits at the end of a barcode displayed on a weighted item, precluding the final check digit, will correspond with the price of the item reflected on the label.

The random weight barcoding system - a simple, effective grocery solution.

Our barcodes work internationally. Should you require barcodes for your product, please visit our Buy page www.barcodeireland.ie/buy, or contact us on info@barcodeireland.ie or through the contact form on our website www.barcodeireland.ie/contact and let Barcode Ireland help your business.




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