LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. — GS1 US here, which oversees bar coding standards in this country, has set 2014 as the “sunrise date” for the implementation of the GS1 DataBar – a more flexible and expansive symbol than the traditional UPC bar code — for perishable food such as loose produce and variable-measure meat, seafood and deli products.

The sunrise date is considered the date by which a particular technology is expected to be adopted; in this case that would mean food retailers would be able to scan and process the DataBar on perishables by the start of 2014. Retailers have already largely begun scanning the DataBar on coupons over the past year.


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GS1 US has designed different versions of the DataBar as alternatives to the UPC.  The “stacked omnidirectional” version of the DataBar, which contains the 14-digit global trade-item number (GTIN) that identifies the supplier and product, is small enough to be implemented on loose produce. It has “a 2014 sunrise data for full implementation,” said James Chronowski, global standards director for GS1 US, who gave a progress report on the DataBar at the GS1 Connect conference in San Antonio earlier this month.

The DataBar on loose produce gives retailers improved front-end accuracy and shrink control, among other benefits, Chronowski said.

The 2014 sunrise date also applies to the “expanded stacked” DataBar, which contains up to 74 alphanumeric characters and is being applied to perishables items that have variable weights and sell-by dates among other attributes, as well as to coupons, he said.

According to SN’s 2013 Technology Survey, more than three-quarters (76.7%) of respondents, including 86.7% of operators with 50 or more stores, have adjusted their POS systems to be able to scan and process the GS1 DataBar bar code on coupons. Fewer retailers are able to scan and process the DataBar on loose produce and variable weight items.

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