Universal Product Code (UPC) – Definition

Cite this article as:"Universal Product Code (UPC) – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated May 11, 2019, last accessed October 27, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/universal-product-code-upc-definition/.


Universal Product Code (UPC) Definition

The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a type of barcode that is attached to every retail product sold in stores around the world. It is a twelve – digit product code for identification of every retail item, the barcode aids an automatic checking -out of retail products at the cashier counter.

UPC was introduced in 1973 by IBM. Aside from product identification, this code provides relevant product information that stores use for inventory and ordering purposes. The UPC as a barcode applied at the electronic point-of-sale was replaced by European Article Numbering (EAN) code in 1976. Countries like the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and some other countries use UPC.

References for What is a UPC Code

Academic Research on Universal Product Code (UPC)

The characteristics and decodability of the Universal Product Code symbol, Savir, D., & Laurer, G. J. (1975). IBM Systems Journal, 14(1), 16-34.

Exhaustive measur.ement of food items in the home using a universal product code scanner, Stevens, J., Bryant, M., Wang, L., Borja, J., & Bentley, M. E. (2011). Public health nutrition, 14(2), 314-318.

Assessing the home food environment nutrient supply using mobile barcode (Universal Product Code) scanning technology, Byrd-Bredbenner, C., & Bredbenner, C. A. (2010). Nutrition & Food Science, 40(3), 305-313.

Understanding Universal Product Code–A Study and Simulation Experiments, Ahmad, A., Ahmad, S., Al-Habsi, A., & Al-Hinai, M. (2014). Indian Journal of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (Taylor & Francis)(IJIAM), 5(1), 25-34.

How to Learn and Simulate Universal Product Code–An Information Redundancy Technique, Ahmad, A. (2011). In The International Information Systems Conference (iiSC) 2011 Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman (p. 200).

Upstream, Downstream: Diffusion and Impacts of the Universal Product Code, Basker, E., & Simcoe, T. (2017). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Universal product code, Reilly, E. D. (2003).

Investigating use of the universal product code by visually impaired shoppers and vendors, Brabyn, J., Gerrey, W., Fowle, T., & Crandall, W. (1994). Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 30, 335.

Cost-benefit analysis universal product code scanner equipment for military commissary stores., Hudson, T. P. (1980). (Doctoral dissertation, Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School).

The universal product code and computer assisted scanning: a marketing case study, Rauch, R. A. (1979).

Universal Product Code (UPC) Bar Coding, Bacon, K. (2012).

Basic Business and Economics: Understanding the Uses of the Universal Product Code., Blockhus, W. (1977). In Business Education Forum (Vol. 31, No. 5, pp. 24-26).


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