Probably, but read on.
If you plan on selling prepackaged items in a retail environment, then you need to have a UPC label for each product that has differentiating attributes (different size, flavors). All retailers (mass merchants, grocery stores, health food stores) require a UPC code, which is the only code that can be scanned at the register.
There are some instances when the food manufacturer is not responsible for providing the UPC. For example: UPC codes for products that are variable weight or bulk food items (meat, poultry, pre-made salads) are usually made by the stores.
UPC codes are one of the most forgotten items that we see new food business overlook prior to taking their products to a retailer. And unfortunately, this could potentially be a costly mistake – as labels might have to be reprinted to include the UPC code.
So what is it? UPC stands for Universal Product Code and it consists of two parts: 12 numbers and a scan-able bar code made up of black and white stripes.
The first six numbers of the twelve are unique to the manufacturer or vendor and should be the same through all of the product line.
The next five numbers are unique to that product’s attributes.
The scan-able barcode has different widths of black and white stripes assigned to each number on either the right or left side of the middle.
Although UPC codes come in different total numbers, for instance an 8 digit UPC code could be used for a smaller item; the standard 12 digit UPC is the most predominantly used in the United States.
A Master Carton UPC code or GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) maybe needed for your cases that will ship to a retailer’s warehouse. This number is typically your UPC code with 4 digits added that represent your pack quantity or how many items are in your master carton.
An EAN (European Article Number) is a code used when products ship from another country and uses an extra digit to represent their counties code. Products from the US can us their UPC codes, as our country code is 00.