What is GS1 DataBar?

Did you know, “Food shrinkage and waste can cost retailers up to 4% of their total sales revenue” reported Planet Retail.

The growing sophistication of technology and management systems has led to demands for brand identification and additional (dynamic) data to be carried by GS1 BarCode symbols and captured at the retail Point-of-Sale. GS1 DataBar provides this path for industry, in particular Fresh Foods, to respond to these new requirements.

While GS1 BarCodes will remain useful for product identification, GS1 DataBar enables expanded bar code implementation by meeting the objective of identifying small items and carrying more information than the standards and technology of current GS1 BarCodes used on fresh food trade items today.


GS1 DataBar is a new point-of-sale bar code joining the GS1 family of barcodes to enable more product marking.

GS1 DataBar (formerly called Reduced Space Symbols or RSS symbols) will not replace traditional GS1 barcodes, but rather join GS1 bar codes as an option at retail point-of-sale. GS1 DataBar will enable GTIN identification for hard-to-mark and small products like fresh fruit, vegetables and cosmetics.

GS1 DataBar can encode brand identification and optionally, dynamic data. GS1 DataBar’s ability to carry GS1 Application Identifiers like serial numbers, lot numbers, and expiration dates opens the door to identification solutions supporting product authentication and traceability, product quality and effectiveness, variable measure product identification and – in some countries – couponing.

For Fresh Food products GS1 DataBar means Consumer and Food Safety programs can be instituted at the register. Additional benefits from implementing GS1 DataBar include; Automatic Markdowns at POS, Expiration Date Management, Improved Product Replenishment, Traceability to the POS, and Category Management.

Imagine having the ability to markdown products at the Point of Sale (POS) automatically, or to stop the sale of recalled or expired product.

As of 2010, GS1 DataBar standards are available for bilateral agreement between trading partners for all trade items. The specific focus will be on Fresh Products scanned at POS. By the target date of 2014, GS1 DataBar standards including attribute information (using AIs) can be used by all trading partners in an open environment. At minimum retailers should be able to scan and process GTINs in a GS1 DataBar.