Ask Leah! The Ingles Dietitian

Sponsored: Supermarket lingo

Sponsored: Supermarket lingo

Every industry, including the supermarket world, has their own lingo. How many of these supermarket terms and abbreviations do you know or have you heard when you are in your local Ingles store? 

  • Best-By Date - This is the date that applies to QUALITY that a manufacturer will put on a product that indicates to the consumer that the product is "best by" that date, i.e. for the best taste/quality ...but it is NOT an expiration date. 
  • End Cap - This is the display at the end of the aisle or shelving - often where special sale or seasonal items are displayed. 
  • J-hook - a hook attached to the front of a shelf to display items. 
  • PLU - Price Look Up code this is the 4 or 5 digit number on the sticker on your fruits and vegetables.  This code helps our cashiers link a product with a price when that number is entered into our registers.
  • RTE - Ready-to-Eat a food item that is able to be consumed upon opening the packaging. (Ex: granola bar)
  • Sell-by Date - This is a date a manufacturer will put on a product  aimed for the retailer for stocking purposes to tell us that this product should be sold on or before a specific date or should be removed from sale for best quality. This is NOT an expiration date and a product in your home past that date is typically still safe to consume. 
  • UPC - Universal Product Code.  This is a bar code on packaging that is uniquely assigned to a product. 
  • Use-By Date - This is a date put on a product by a manufacturer to indicate to consumers that the product should be used by a specific date. After that date the quality may be lessened. This is not a safety date except for infant formula. 
  • Wand - a hand-held code reader for price checking and ordering. (You may see Ingles associates and manager using a wand to figure out which products to order.) 

Sources: Food Industry Association FMI; Food Industry Glossary; USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services Food Product Dating

Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN

Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian


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