GS1 DataBar Use Throughout the World

gs1 databar on sushiRecently, we wrote about the GS1 DataBar, a new barcode that can store more data than a UPC in a smaller amount of space. Since the advent of the GS1 DataBar, the barcodes have been implemented in a variety of different grocery applications. Let’s take a look at whose using the GS1 DataBar and how it’s affecting their business.

Canada Uses GS1 DataBar for Fresh Produce

Canada’s largest retailer, Loblaw Companies Limited, implemented a limited use of the GS1 DataBar back in 2007, with specific suppliers of apples and bananas. After this initial implementation, Loblaw began to expand its use of the GS1 DataBar to all of its fresh produce. Since making the switch to the GS1 DataBar, Loblaw has experienced vast benefits, including:

  • Improved accuracy and speed at the retail POS for fresh produce
  • Improved accuracy and speed at self-checkouts
  • Reduced shrinkage
  • Improved stock control by better differentiation of organic and conventional produce
  • More accurate product replenishment
  • Improved supplier identification

Cashiers found the new barcodes to be a vast improvement to manual entry, and also discovered that the produce bags did not impair the ability to read the DataBar labels.
Loblaw themselves found traceability of their fresh produce to be greatly enhanced after the implementation, bringing supply chain efficiency to the forefront of their operationas.

In addition to produce, the GS1 DataBar has also made its way to Japan, keeping sushi fresh by the hour.

In 2008, Bunkado and Beisia, two leading Japanese retailers, conducted GS1 DataBar pilots to take advantage of the ability to encode additional data, such as expiration dates and hours. During this piloted experiment, staff prepared to-go sushi meals, which tend to have a short shelf life.

The freshness of the meals were checked regularly, allowing discounts to be given to products that were approaching the end of their shelf life. These discounts were given by printing and applying a new GS1 DataBar Expanded label to the product. Cashiers were then able to scan the product quickly and accurately at the POS instead of manually entering information. In addition, staff was able to easily remove any products that had expired easily and efficiently.

Since this piloted implementation, Bunkado and Beisia have begun to implement a similar mark-down process using the GS1 DataBar on other products such as milk, yogurt and other short-shelf life products.

While not all grocers have begun to implement the GS1 Databar, it is clear that the new barcodes save cashiers a lot of time and hassle, protect consumers, and ultimately save companies money. This begs the question, will the GS1 Databar replace the UPC?