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Some Facts and Fiction On Custom Fruit Stickers


For anyone who buys produce, you’ll notice little labels on each piece of fruit or vegetable. Some people have actually accidentally eaten this label. That is ill-advised since these often comprise plastic or vinyl in order to withstand spraying, water, transport, and packaging when maneuvering from one end of the production chain to its ultimate destination with the retailer.

The plastic (or sometimes vinyl) composition means these stickers are not biodegradable. Therefore, if you get a nasty piece of fruit or veggie and want to toss it in the compost, you’ll first want to remove the labeling. Many people are unaware of this, and the little stickers tend to contaminate the batch.

The general consensus is these custom PLU stickers should be removed immediately upon bringing home produce all at one time before the labels have a chance to be consumed, fall onto the floor, and get tracked outside as litter where an animal or Heaven forbid a child could get it in their mouth, or disappear without a trace making you wonder where it might have gone perhaps in a prepared entree for dinner. As a rule, take them off in a pile and toss them in the trash receptacle.

The Facts On PLUs or Price Look Up Codes

PLU stickers have been taking a prominent place on produce for over three decades in varied grocery markets across North America. The suggestion is that these can help a consumer determine what’s in the food in order to make more educated decisions on shopping for products. That isn’t entirely true.

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These labels comprise four to five-digit numbers showing up on varied produce or on the nut and dried fruit bin. The intention is to allow market staff to designate based on size, variety, or growing method, for instance, organic or conventional.

Four digits are generally random numbers with five digits being equal to their four-digit partner, except there is a prefix that helps determine the growth method.

The concept means to make market data “universal” with a standard format for identifying bulk goods. There is no sort of intelligence with any individual digit of the codes.

The codes on these stickers are not for customer purposes as a rule. There are ways a staff member can determine if a piece of fruit or vegetable is organic or conventional.

Still, the recommendation for a customer is to look for the “USDA Organic Seal.” That seal will show that the USDA certified the product as organic.  These stickers are not intended to convey any sort of information to a shopper for them to be able to make a more conscientious choice as a consumer.

The suggestion is that there are other methods customers can take to ensure they are shopping wisely, but this little tag is not the piece of paper to use for those purposes.

Little Known Facts About PLU Stickers And The Potential Future Of Custom Fruit Labels

Many people in the industry and consumers have thoughts, opinions, and ideas on what the PLU stickers mean. There are many myths, misconceptions, and possible future prospects that follow these little labels.

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While it can be challenging to separate the fact from the fiction, there are a few pieces of information that stand out as fathomable. Let’s look at a few “facts” and some people’s ideas for the future of custom fruit labels. (These aren’t set in stone, merely opinions.) Click to know more about Fruits.

The labels are edible

The FDA controls the stickers with the indication that “technically” the fruit and veggie labels are edible with the notation that you wouldn’t want to consume the stickers on purpose. If you accidentally swallow one, it won’t hurt you.

There could only be harm if FDA guidelines were not followed when printing the label occurred with a material that the FDA did not approve. These would not likely get past quality control.

Right price every time

The “International Federation of Produce Standards,” or IFPS, assigns the codes on the labels once there is a national and international review. The assigned codes guarantee consumers that each clerk will charge the exact price for the products selected with none making the products less expensive nor will any be greater in price.

With these codes in place, a clerk can actually ring the products up at a faster pace since there is no need to look up a particular fruit or vegetable for pricing purposes.

These are nationwide codes meaning no matter where you go, which state, the same product will come up with the same number and the exact price point.

A laser could be the future

Thus far, a laser etching has been incorporated for coconuts in the UK and also sweet potatoes. A gentleman in the Florida area invented a technique for laser etching the sticker codes on products referenced as “natural branding.”

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With this method, the produce skin is removed via an intense light, and the code is invisible to the naked eye. The skin removal boats as not affecting the quality of the fruits and vegetables with the shelf life intact.

The suggestion is it could be beneficial in saving a great deal of paper products, adhesive, and ink, not to mention the energy behind producing these.

Final Thought

One of the primary concerns about the custom fruit stickers is that people genuinely have the mindset that these codes will give them shopping guidance. Many reference materials on the market indicate that is simply not the case.

Unfortunately, with this misperception, consumers are following poor advice when they should be looking to other resources in order to make the informed decisions they’re hoping for with their shopping.

Choosing to use a price lookup label will not help with some of the questions that many customers need answers to. There needs to be more educational literature, perhaps in the grocery markets at the registers or among the produce aisles.

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