business Barcode - UPC for Retailing

I am looking at adding a barcode for retailers. It looks like basically 3 choices. 1) GS1 US: starts at $250. Many large retailers require this. 2) Nation Wide Bar Code: starts at $16. Amazon accepts this. Walmart does not. 3) Make your own. I haven't researched this much.  Any advice/experience would be appreciated. 
Easiest, safest and quickest answer I can provide is, go the most legit way possible that'll cover all your bases.
On a more personal level, you need to ask yourself a bunch of questions.
Bar codes on your labels definitely present a more professional look that can/may attract customers and potential retail outlets. Perception is important, most especially when starting out.
You have to ask yourself if your sauces are ready for retail such as a Walmart yet? Do you have enough of a following and sales to show them that they would want your sauce on their shelves? Are you prepared to provide them with a potentially large quantity of bottles to put on their shelves in which their terms may not even pay you for upward of 90-120 days? Are you prepared to take back all the sauce f they deem that your sauce is not selling fast enough for them to want to keep it on their shelves? Then you might have a ton of product sitting in your warehouse, that you paid for out of pocket.
Amazon is it's own beast and I have heard too many horror stories from friends where I never even looked into it.
I think it's worthwhile to spend the $250 to get legit barcodes that will be universally accepted. I have been doing this nearly 6 years now. A very small bunch of us crafters ever get to the point of being in big chain stores. Not a bad investment or addition to your labels. It just may be a long while ,if ever, that they become actually needed for you.
Do you have a site?


Business Member
IIRC, for GS1, it's $250 to register 10 codes then $50 a year to renew.  It's worth it to go GS1.  You don't have to use all your codes right now.  I think I've assigned 6 and still have 4 in the bank.  You can assign them as needed. 
just for information-   I use one bar code for my salsas that are marketed locally.  I use the same bar code for all 4 salsas.  Techincally each flavor of salsa is supposed to have it's own bar code.  But all the salsas are the same price, and I do all the stocking and managements.  So none of the 3 local stores that carry the salsa have quabbled about using one bar code for 4 products.
On a small scale , bar codes are not REQUIRED!!!!  Just like NIPs are NOT REQUIRED to sell locally and regionally.  Independent stores can sell any small regional product when brought into the store through the right channels.  Larger chains that deal with distribution will want a bar code.  it's a small price to pay for access to that level of distribution, but again, it may not be REQUIRED! you have to check with the stores and their distribution requirements.
I've also heard horror stories of a small local beef jerky maker who tried to get into Walmart, was put out 30 days for payment, then put out another 30 days......This was 20+ years ago....
Little guys can't carry a large order for 30 net...60 net...  don't do it.
Hank's Market doesn't give me 60 net for that gallon of milk and handle of vodka I'm gonna buy tomorrow to get us through the next week or so.  It's cash on the Barrelhead.  No Tickey, No Laundry.....
And that's how I sell my salsa to them.  Tickey=cash
For all of my grocery store accounts, it is a Net 7.  I deliver an invoice on the day of delivery and they send a check by mail within 7 days. 
Back-In-The-Day, it was cash out of the till when I walked out the the store.  A lot of small vendors still do this.  It's a good way to get it set up, no waiting and it's just like the farmers market.....CASH in hand!    Might not fly in larger stores, but you may sell more in smaller stores.