Guest post is provided by Food Trade Consultants, a consultation service offering seminars and packing of small orders to entrepreneurs in the food industry. Visit www.foodtradeconsultants.com for more information.
A UPC has a bar code that can be scanned with a laser, and a 12 digit number that can be entered in by hand. You can find out who manufactured the product by locating the first six digits, while the item number has its own five digits afterward. The last digit in the number is called a check code. The number of the check code is a special formula of the previous 11 digits to ensure that the scanner has scanned the item properly to ensure that there are no mistakes. A UPC coordinator is usually hired by the manufacturer to insure that no two items have the same number, a problem that would surly ensure havoc, needing a recall on all products displaying duplicate numbers. Usually every style of packaging needs a new code. If you sell your product individually, it will need a different code than a product sold in a package of 6, etc. The last number is a check digit code made with a special formula to make sure the scanner has scanned the code successfully.
It is recommended that all start-up entrepreneurs in the food industry obtain a UPC when considering packaging and selling their products. UPCs make the tracking of inventory easy for retailers, and payment to you easy as well. Without this code, you might get passed up by some really great accounts. Big accounts like wholesalers actually require you to have a UPC code. So essentially, you can’t get along without one.