Compostable Concerns

The Future of PLU Stickers in a Sustainable Produce Industry

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Today we are talking about PLU stickers—those tiny, ubiquitous labels on our fruits and vegetables. For those in the produce industry, they are well-known, but for others, PLU stickers ensure pricing accuracy for loose produce in supermarkets. Each sticker boasts a Price Look Up (PLU) code, a cashier's tool for identifying products quickly. Recently, PLU stickers have taken the spotlight as certain European countries push for the mandate that these stickers on fresh produce must be home-compostable, sparking discussions and concerns, especially in the USA regarding potential export challenges if other nations follow suit. Joining us to break down this topic are industry experts Rod Baeini, General Manager at Accu-Label International, and Scott Howarth, Director of Research and Development at Sinclair.

In this episode, Rod and Scott shed light on the origins of PLU stickers, their presence in the industry, and the intricate process of obtaining a PLU code. We explore how PLU stickers can help consumers identify organic produce and the wealth of information they contain. You will learn about the future of PLU stickers, the ongoing challenges driven by evolving regulations, and the complexities surrounding home composability.


  • Why PLU stickers were created.
  • How long PLU stickers have been around.
  • The amount of information on PLUs.
  • The benefit of having PLUs on products.
  • What Rod and Scott see for the future of PLU stickers.
  • The definition of home compostable.

Ideas Worth Sharing

“There is a lot of information that can be put on PLUs. I think the next phase of the PLU may even be QR codes, and when we get to that step, we will have more information on the PLU. People will be able to scan it and get more out of it.” - Rod Baeini

“When it comes to PLUs we think we are getting there and then the regulations change. A lot of that has to do with there not being a standard legislation across the globe. Every single country and every single region is coming up with their own mandates and we’re all trying to react to those right now.” - Rod Baeini

“People don’t realize how QR codes on PLU stickers will help them at the point of sale. It is also the minimalist amount of packaging you can have. So, if you’re really concerned about being sustainable, these little PLUs take up so few resources but do such a big job for the industry.” - Scott Howarth

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