Cracking the Code of PLU’s

May 2023

By Clare Broderick, Founder of Greener Cleaner LIVING, LLC


Have you ever wondered what those little stickers on your fruits and veggies mean? They’re called PLU codes, and they actually contain a lot of useful information!

PLU stands for “Price Look-Up” and is a system of numbering used to identify different types of produce. These numbers help cashiers ring up items quickly and accurately and also help shoppers distinguish between different varieties of the same type of produce.

A PLU code that starts with a “3” means that the produce is conventionally grown, while a PLU code that starts with a “4” means that the produce is conventionally grown and not genetically modified (non-GMO). A PLU code that starts with a “9” means that the produce is organic, and was grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

By choosing organic produce or non-GMO conventionally grown produce, you’re supporting farmers who prioritize sustainable growing practices and protecting your health by avoiding exposure to harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. It’s a good idea to choose organic or non-GMO produce when possible, but if you can’t, choosing conventionally grown produce is still a better option than not eating fruits and vegetables at all!

Understanding PLU codes can help you make informed choices about the food you’re buying and support sustainable agriculture. Remember, bio-engineered produce, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), will have a PLU code that starts with the number “8” once labeling requirements are in effect.

Do you look for PLU codes when shopping for produce? Let us know!




Clare Broderick is the Director of Partnership Development at the WEforum Group and is the founder of Greener Cleaner LIVING, LLC, a sustainable home and lifestyle consultancy. Clare uses her extensive professional experience in healthcare environment & building design to help women learn to live a more natural, non-toxic lifestyle & make changes to detox your family’s home & health. Get started with this free guide on top 10 Healthy Home Kitchen & Food Tips.