It is frustrating when food wholesalers change their product code numbers — particularly for those who have designed their own order forms that include the wholesalers’ product code numbers.

There are several reasons why those product code numbers need to be changed periodically.

For the food products that they offer for sale, wholesalers maintain comprehensive Product Specifications and detailed descriptions, produced by the manufacturers or importers; these are freely available to end-users. 

These Specifications and descriptions contain key ingredient and dietary information – essential for identifying Allergens – and for those with medical needs (e.g. restricted salt/sugar/fat) or those requiring religious diets.

So, why do food wholesalers’ product code numbers need to be changed ?

For Food Safety reasons, any product with any changes to ingredient details must be given a revised Product Specification. Plus, that revised Specification must be given an updated wholesalers’ product code number.

Many manufacturers have embarked on ‘healthier-eating’ initiatives, looking to improve their products in a number of ways through on-going, gradual, step-change programmes of reducing salt, sugar and fat levels. 

Similarly, recognising the increasing popularity and demand for Vegan products, many manufacturers are looking to remove animal-derived ingredients from their products. At the same time, other manufacturers are seeking religious endorsements (such as Halal or Kosher) for appropriate products.

All of these situations require a revised Product Specification and, crucially, a revised product code number. 

Other situations that require a revised Product Specification — and a new wholesalers’ product code number —include manufacturers’ changes of case size, internal pack size, or the size and/or weight of individual products.

Changes in wholesalers’ product code numbers might seem a nuisance, but they are usually for sound reasons.

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