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GS1 DataBar

Wednesday, 10 January 2018
PMA A-NZ Media Release


GS1 Australia invited PMA A-NZ to facilitate discussions with Australian and New Zealand retailers and GS1 NZ, to work towards a consistent approach to the implementation of GS1 DataBar across the fresh produce industry. The main issue was the site to which the barcode should apply. This process was successful and retailers agreed to a workable outcome. Australian retailers Coles and Woolworths have since commenced their progressive rollouts of GS1 DataBar. This is a significant event that will have commercial and logistical implications for many PMA A-NZ members. If you are not already engaged in this process, now would be a good time to get to know GS1 DataBar and understand what it will mean for your business. Speak to your retailer contacts for more information on rollout timetable and sticker specifications.

What is GS1 DataBar?

GS1, the global data standards organisation, created GS1 DataBar to meet the need for a barcode that could fit on small stickers and tags such as those on loose or bunched produce. Loose fresh produce is the ‘last frontier’ for checkout scanning. Retailers in the USA, Canada and the UK are already using GS1 DataBar.

The design of GS1 DataBar is known as ‘stacked omnidirectional’, a new configuration that has required substantial investment in scanning hardware and software at retail checkouts.

The GS1 DataBar is encoded with a 14-digit Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN. For Australian retailers, the GTIN relates to the site where the produce was packed. While other options considered were farm or orchard, or the holder of the vendor or supplier number, the packhouse was deemed to be the most practical and achievable level of identification and traceability.

The GTIN does not contain additional information such as batch number, packed-on date, best-before date or country of origin. GS1 DataBar will not replace conventional barcodes used on large loose items such as watermelon, packaged produce such as bags and punnets, or trade packaging such as crates or pallets.

GTINs are allocated to the packhouse business by your local GS1 office in Australia or New Zealand.

What are the benefits of GS1 DataBar?

GS1 DataBar has benefits for both suppliers and retailers. The main benefit for all stakeholders is fast and accurate traceability of product back to packhouse. This means that issues can be contained as fast as possible and non-implicated packhouses can continue business with minimal interruption.

Packhouses are also able to compare supply chain performance where these differ between retailers.

For retailers, faster checkout means shorter queues and happier and more productive customers and staff. Improved accuracy means less mis-identification and hence more reliable data. That data improves category management, inventory management and quality management.

How does GS1 DataBar relate to PLU code?

There is a Price Look Up (PLU) code allocated to every produce type. With some types of produce such as apples, there is a PLU code for different varieties and different size categories within those varieties. The PLU code has no function other than the most basic product identification. A main function of fruit stickers is to carry the PLU code, which enables quicker and more accurate checkout. See for more information on PLU codes.

The GS1 DataBar captures the PLU code and its benefits but there is still a need to include the PLU code on stickers carrying GS1 DataBar. The human-readable PLU code will be used in case the GS1 DataBar does not scan and for retailers that are not using GS1 DataBar. The sticker can still carry supplier branding, and remains acceptable to all customers.

For more information on GS1 DataBar, follow this link

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