If you have a unique and tasty food product that started as a dream and has mushroomed into a growing business, figuring out how to get your product to consumers can be challenging. Maybe you have a flavorful barbeque sauce that has impressed family and friends for years and you are finally taking a risk and distributing it at some farmer’s markets. Or maybe your granola is the best this side of the Mississippi and you are ready to start selling it in local groceries and food stands. You may have packaging and an eye-catching label, but in order to sell your product, you will probably need a bar code.
When researching how to get a bar code on your label or food package, there is a lot of information out there and figuring it all out can be confusing. If you need to obtain a bar code for your product, here’s how to do that in three simple steps, according to GS1 US, a corporation that guides industry standards.
Estimate Product Needs
Because your product may come in different variations, each of these may require a unique identification number. For example, if you are marketing your barbeque sauce, you may have developed a spicy, sweet, and mustard version of the original, all different products. Each one will need a different identification number. The first step in the process is to identify how many variations you have (sweet, spicy, mustard style) plus (small and mega size bottles for each) equals six different product types. You will also need to plan for additional product variations that accommodate your business growth plans. Since you can’t add capacity to your bar code prefix, you need to estimate them up front.
Choose a Company Prefix
A U.P.C. UPC bar code (called a GTIN) is typically 12 digits long. It starts with your U.P.C. UPC Company Prefix and ends with a check digit. The numbers that fall in the middle of these are item reference numbers that you will assign to your products. A GS1 company prefix comes in five different capacities that allow you to create as few as 10 unique items and as many as 100,000. These unique Global trade items numbers will give you an identity and a format that will be accepted by trading partners worldwide. Pricing for each of these is based on the number of items that you need to identify. Initial fee licenses the company prefix for one year and after that, you will pay the annual renewal fee to continue using the licensed company prefix for your bar codes and product identification. Before you start this process, though, be sure to check with your processor. They might have UPCs for sale.
Fill out an application
Once you provide your contact information, choose your prefix capacity and pay online, you will receive a Welcome email from GS1 US within one business day. It will include all of the important information you need to get started, including your prefix certificate and access to your online account. You can begin creating bar codes right away with Data Driver, an online tool to create and manage your bar codes, or you can work with a certified bar code professional to create bar codes for you.
From item, to case, to pallet, product bar codes with Data Driver allow you, the product creator, to edit and manage all product information while storing all data and to print all data or share high resolution bar codes with your label printing vendor for product and package artwork. If you are one of those amazing product creators and you need help getting your labels started, click here and Louisville Label will help you get started. We can offer you a quote on your product labels or send you in the right direction to start processing your bar codes. Louisville Label is here to help.