Generic Barcodes on Produce

Normally a barcode on a supermarket item contains a 12 or 13 digit number (called the GTIN-12 or GTIN-13) the first 1 to 3 digits identifies the GS1 Country code, and the next few digits identifies the GS1 Company code, this information can be obtained from the global barcode registries at

To find the name of the item, the whole GTIN must be looked up in a database which the supermarket maintains, and they in turn get the information from their suppliers. Members of the public can find the information by using barcode lookup services like ours or others just by searching on Google! 


Organic Granny Smith Apples

Generic UPC:  0033383009889

LU: 94017


Price Look Up (PLU ) Codes

A PLU sticker is a small sticker containing just 4 or 5 digits applied to individual pieces of fruit or vegetables that are sold loose. PLU codes help cashiers accurately identify and price items, since without the sticker they may not be able to determine whether an apple is a Fuji or a Gala variety or if it's been organically grown by looking at it and, since these two apples could be sold at different prices, it is obviously important for consumers and the supermarkets. A complete list of Global PLU Codes is available on the Web at Organically grown produce have the prefix 9; for example conventionally grown Granny Smith Apples (Large) have a code 4017, and if organically grown would be 94017. 



Fresh fruit and vegetable when sold loose do not have to have a barcode, however pre-packaged fruit and vegetables general do. In the United States and Canada, Fresh Fruit and Vegetables are know as 'produce' and will be found in the supermarket 'produce aisle'; also, in the United States and Canada generic barcodes (Generic UPCs) exist for pre-packaged fresh produce. In 2013 some supermarkets requested suppliers to use their own company specific barcodes, but many generic barcodes are still in use.


Generic UPC

The barcode prefix '033383' is licensed by Produce Marketing Association (PMA) from GS1 US to be used to assign generic UPCs. A generic UPC only identifies the item by commodity name, variety, grade and pack size and type but does not identify the supplier. The list of around 12,000 item numbers and descriptions is maintained by PMA in UPC Online which is only available to subscribers. Items with a Generic barcode may also have a brand label, but the brand cannot be determined from the barcode alone.

Brand Searching

Coming soon! Our Search 'n Scan page will soon enable you to search for products by brand, and if you search on the brand 'PMA' you will find fresh produce that have generic UPC codes!