What are Price-Embedded Barcodes and How do they Work?

Posted by PointOfSale POS on

Price-embedded barcodes, also known as random weight, variable price, or type 2 UPC-A barcodes, have the item’s PLU (price look-up) code and price encoded into the barcode.

A product is considered a variable measure trade item if its measure is variable at any point in the supply chain. Variable measure trade items are those sold in inconsistent quantities against a fixed price per unit (such as weight unit) and intended to be processed at Point of Sale (POS) system (for example, tomatoes sold at a fixed price per pound).

Grocery Stores and delis, or any business with bulk departments will typically use a specialized POS weight scale capable of printing UPC-A price-embedded barcode labels. They will enter in the PLU (Price Look-up Code) or item code for that particular product on that scale, weigh it, and then print out a price\weight embedded barcode from the scale and then affix it to the product. This product with the price embedded barcode can then be brought to the cashier and scanned in the POS cash register system.

Examples of variable measure items include:

  • Products traded in bulk such as fish, fruit, nuts, vegetables, timber, and fabrics.
  • Items ordered by piece, such as a wheel of cheese, a whole side of beef, a whole fish, etc.
  • Portioned items pre-packed for sale by weight (not standardized by quantity) such as meat, cheese and grapes


The Type 2 UPC barcode has a slightly different layout than a standard UPC-A barcode:

Here is an example broken down:


02 45678 1 0543 9


YY 02 The leading check-digit. 02 flags the barcode as variable
CCCCC 45678 The unique product identifier (PLU)
X 1 The PLU check-digit
PPPP 0543 The item price. The first two digits are the price value before decimal point and the two last digits are the value after the decimal point. Therefore the price in the above example would be $05.43/unit of weight.
X 9 Normal UPC check carried out on the 12 preceding numbers



Choosing the right weight scale for your grocery store point of sale system, that can print the price-embedded barcodes may feel like a complicated task. From a simple scale/printer that sits on the deli counter to an in-counter scale/scanner connected to the POS system at check-out, there are several factors to consider.

Let guide you in selecting the right POS Weight Scale and Printer for your unique business. Committed to providing the hardware, software, guidance and support to ensure a seamless integration, has the expertise and experience to help you grow your business. We take care of your POS, so you can take care of your customers.

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