Mapping WIC Allowed Produce Items

What is Produce Mapping?

  • Mapping is the process of matching UPCs of fresh fruits and vegetables in your integrated Point of Sale (POS) software to Price Look Up (PLU) codes listed in the Illinois Authorized Product List (APL). Illinois WIC strongly encourages "full" or "one-to-one" mapping, which means that a fresh produce item with a UPC should be mapped to a PLU for the same kind of item. For example, cut up pineapple with a UPC would be mapped to a PLU for bulk pineapple.
  • Illinois has included the PLUs set by the International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS) for all fresh produce in the APL approved for vendor use.
    • It is not necessary to map varieties of items to a specific PLU. For example, a bag of Honeycrisp apples can be mapped to a PLU for apples; instead of the specific PLU of bulk Honeycrisp apples.
  • ALL fresh produce besides herbs, decorative fruit and vegetables, party trays, and pre-packaged produce with added ingredients is WIC allowed.

Why is Produce Mapping Necessary?

  • It is very difficult to IL WIC to keep track of all the different produce UPCs, so retailers can make sure that all WIC allowed produce can be purchased with a WIC card by mapping the UPCs.
  • If fresh produce isn't mapped, and it results in participants not being able to purchase an item that is included in their benefits, it can cause the transaction to take longer, if the participant does not want to purchase that item with another payment method, or it can cause participants to pay for an item they did not include in their grocery budget.
  • It can take 2-3 days for any new UPC to be added to the APL, which might be too slow for some seasonal items. Retailers can allow a produce item for sale much faster if they map the UPC.
  • Some of these UPCs are regional or retailer-generated, and cannot be added to the APL.
  • It is important to note that since IL WIC doesn't keep track of all fresh UPCs on the APL, they will not scan in the BNFT App and the app should never be used to scan fresh produce.
  • If mapping is not completed or correct, eligible fresh fruits or vegetables will not be available for purchase with WIC benefits.

Who completes mapping for a store?

In corporately owned stores, the mapping may be completed at the corporate office. In independent or decentralized stores, mapping is typically completed at the store level. It is important to note that when fresh produce items with UPCs go on sale, the discount should be added to the fresh produce UPC, so the discount is applied to the WIC purchase.

What Produce Items Must Be Mapped? What should not be mapped?

  • All fresh, plain fruits and vegetables including precut items with UPCs like in-store or commissary cut fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Fresh plain fruits and vegetables in bags or clamshells such as berries like clamshells of strawberries, or brand name packaged items like a bag of Dole Romaine Lettuce.
  • Fresh plain fruits and vegetables with PLUs that are not standard IFPS PLUs
  • A store may NEVER map frozen or canned fruits and vegetables or other WIC food UPCs. IL WIC has these UPCs in the APL, and it is not necessary to map these items. It can also cause problems in the system, such as the failure of a WIC transaction, if these items are mapped.

Who can help me with mapping?

  • POS providers are responsible for providing instructions on produce mapping.
  • IL WIC staff can tell you if an item needs to be mapped, but are not equipped to help with the process.

Where can I find a list of the PLUs in the APL file?

You can download the APL file form the IL WIC Vendor website. There is a tab that includes the fresh fruit and vegetable PLUs that can be referenced.

If a fresh produce item is coming up in the system as non-WIC eligible or the CVB is not being applied, the Department recommends that store cashiers take the following steps:

  • First verify that the participant has a remaining CVB balance on their card.
    • This can be done by printing the balance inquiry or reviewing the initial WIC benefits on the mid-point transaction review for integrated systems.
    • If there is no balance available then, explain this to the participant and they can choose to pay for the item or return it.
  • If there is a balance available that would cover the cost of the fresh produce item, try to manually enter the PLU for the specific item.
    • If this works, then continue with the transaction as normal.
  • If manually entering the PLU does not work, then manually enter the generic PLU for fresh produce (4469) to allow the sale of the product to go through for the participant.
  • Then, after the transaction, you should notify management of the issue so the item can be correctly mapped in the system to prevent further issues for other participants.
  • It is important to remember, that ALL fresh produce items are to be mapped, this includes bags of produce or clamshells that may have a UPC scan bar on them.