A new service called UPC Link is available from the Produce Marketing Association to help produce companies transition toward unique Global Trade Item Numbers encoded in Universal Product Codes.

“PMA has a history of supporting the industry’s entire supply chain with data standards — dating back to the development of the first UPC code,” Ed Treacy, vice president of supply chain efficiencies for Newark, Del.-based PMA, said in a news release. “UPC Link is another example of those efforts, and it comes at a crucial time for our industry as it takes advantage of increased business efficiencies such as improved category management.”

A survey indicates that 80% of top food retailers surveyed will soon begin to require a more specific GTIN with a GS1 assigned company specific code in the near future, according to the release.

Unique Global Trade Item Numbers in the UPC code will enable retailers to differentiate between different product brands in the same category, according to the release.

PMA’s UPC Link offers suppliers a reduction in the number of transactions required to communicate their changes, according to the release. The database will create a single place to upload data and retailers will benefit by have a single source to automatically obtain and update data. The system should allow for improved category management, increased inventory accuracy and enhanced traceability, according to the release.

More information about the service is available online or by contacting Christina D’Allacco, PMA’s manager of science and technology/supply chain efficiencies, at cdallacco@pma.com or (302) 738-7100.