- 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