What is a GS1 Databar barcode?

The GS1 DataBar is a stacked omnidirectional barcode created by the global standards organization GS1. The GS1 DataBar was designed to fit on smaller items, such as loose produce, that are not large enough to use a UPC barcode. It is found on a PLU sticker and supplemented by the 4- or 5-digit PLU code as the human readable portion. The PLU code will be used as a back up as it can be key entered at point-of-sale in the event the barcode does not scan. It is important to reiterate that the GS1 DataBar is used for the item (loose produce), not packaged produce (e.g. bags or clamshells) or the case. If an individual item carries a UPC barcode (e.g., watermelon), it does NOT need to have a separate GS1 DataBar created for it. 

The GS1 DataBar is encoded with a 14-digit Global Trade Item Number or GTIN. It enables the capture of brand owner identification for loose produce instead of just the category of the item via the PLU code. Although it will identify the brand owner, it does not contain information to assist with full traceability efforts (i.e., batch/lot number or pack date).

Benefits of GS1 DataBar

The implementation of GS1 DataBar has many advantages to both retailers and suppliers. 

    • Improved category management
    • Increased checkout speed
    • Improved inventory accuracy
    • Enhanced product quality management efforts
    • More products automatically and accurately identified at point-of-sale
    • Shrink control via front end accuracy
    • Facilitated self-checkout

Format of GTIN used for DataBar

The GS1 Stacked Omnidirectional DataBar has a 14-digit data structure for the product identification number. 

The 14-digit GTIN for the GS1 DataBar is a number which has four parts:

    • Indicator Digit = used to define the packaging hierarchy of a product. This number must be a “0” for loose or bulk items.  
    • GS1 Company Prefix = a number assigned by GS1 that uniquely identifies a company from any other company in the world. Contact GS1  to obtain your Company Prefix or for further information.
      • The generic company prefix, '033383', obtained from PMA cannot be used in the creation of the GS1 DataBar GTIN as it does not link the item to a specific company. 
    • Item Reference Number = assigned by the owner of the GS1 Company Prefix based on the length of the prefix to identify the item.
    • Check Digit = the 14th digit which is calculated by an algorithm and serves as a “checks and balances” to ensure the preceding digits were entered correctly. To calculate the check digit, use the Check Digit Calculator.

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