What is a Supply Chain

GS1 US Data Hub Help Center

Is this item variable measure?

When creating a new product on the GS1 US Data Hub Product | Create page, you can select "yes" for the Variable Measure? field. If you select yes, you will NOT be able to generate a UPC-A barcode for this product detail record.

In addition, a GTIN-14 will be generated, beginning with the number nine (9). The digit 9 is in the indicator digit position, indicating that this item is a variable measure trade item that cannot be NOT scanned at retail checkout / Point-of-Sale.

For more details on variable measure trade items, please refer to the GS1 General Specifications.


Example of a Product that Is NOT a Variable Measure Trade Item:

A tomato sauce product line that is sold in three “varied” jar sizes (20 oz., 40 oz., and 60 oz.) is NOT a variable measure trade item.

In this example, each jar "size" is a fixed measure trade item and would receive its own GTIN.


Even if there are slight weight variations during production (such as overfill), this still does not make the product a variable measure trade item. The declared net weight to the consumer is always the same, regardless of overfill. These are fixed measure trade items, which are always produced in the same version and composition (e.g., type, size, weight, contents, and design).


Examples of Products that ARE Variable Measure Trade Items:

Unlike a fixed measure trade item, a variable measure trade item has at least one characteristic that varies, and the item may be sold at any point in the supply chain without one of these characteristics predefined:

- Weight
- Dimension (size)
- Quantity contained
- Volume information, such as length

Variable measure trade items scanned in general distribution are identified with a GTIN-14 beginning with ‘9’.

For example, a wheel of cheese (not intended for Point-of-Sale) is a variable measure trade item, as it is ordered by a GTIN-14 and includes the indicator digit 9. It’s cut and packaged in variable weight packages in the deli department and sold by weight.


Another example is bulk chicken breast (not intended for Point-of-Sale), which is ordered by a GTIN-14 and includes the indicator digit 9. It’s then packaged into individual variable weight packages and sold by weight.

A non-food example could be rope, chain or fabric.