GS1 DataBar

How do you identify your loose produce and small items? Here’s everything you need to know about using GS1 DataBar barcodes for hard-to-code products.

What is GS1 DataBar?

GS1 DataBar is a barcode for loose items and small and hard-to-mark products. This allows them to be quickly scanned at retail POS, instead of manually found in the system. This includes items like loose produce (such as fruit and vegetables), cosmetics, and DIY hardware.

A regular GS1 DataBar can hold up to 14 digits for a GTIN. An Extended GS1 DataBar can hold even more, making it great for encoding additional data beyond basic product information, such as weight, use-by date, batch and serial numbers.


  • Improves product identification accuracy at POS compared with manually entering price-look-up codes
  • Helps product authentication and traceability for faster recalls
  • Improves stock management for better product availability
  • Allows more space on packaging for branding and messaging
  • Creates a better customer experience at self-scanning checkouts
  • Improves scan rates compared to incorrectly sized EAN-13 and EAN-8 barcodes
  • Often used as the barcodes for fresh produce and fruit labelling

Breaking it down

There are 7 types of GS1 DataBar. The 4 types used at point of sale are:

Not for use at POS:
  • GS1 DataBar Stacked
  • GS1 DataBar Limited
  • Gs1 DataBar Truncated

Common scenario examples

  • Fresh, loose produce
  • Variable-measure fresh produce
  • Small and hard-to-mark consumer products
Fresh, loose produce

Smaller size of GS1 DataBar means it can be used on standard labels of many fresh, loose produce items, such as apples, mangoes, bananas and oranges. For fresh produce only a GTIN-13 can be used in either a EAN-13 or GS1 Databar.

Fresh, loose produce
Variable-measure fresh produce

Use GS1 DataBar on meat, seafood, cheese and other items to encode additional information, such as best-before data, country of origin, batch number, etc.

Variable-measure fresh produce
Small and hard-to-mark consumer products

Use GS1 DataBar on cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, DIY hardware and jewellery to save space on packaging and improve scanning at POS.

GS1 Databar Barcode

GS1 Databar Essential Checklist

  • Assign a unique GTIN – Each produce variety, growing method and brand requires a unique GTIN.
  • Use a 14-digit GTIN. GS1 DataBar can encode a GTIN-13, GTIN-12 or GTIN-8. Simply add filler zeroes to make up the 14 digits.
  • Select your barcode type. Choose from 4 types based on the shape, size and type of product
  • Add the PLU code to the label – some smaller retailers may not be able to scan GS1 DataBar.
  • No Quiet Zones required.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for allocating and maintaining the GS1 DataBar number?

The company that applies the label, such as the packhouse or grower.

When should I use the stacked versions of the GS1 DataBar?

The stacked versions include two barcodes piled on top of each other. It gives you the option to pack more consecutive information into a small space. This is ideal for smaller packages, such as loose produce and DIY hardware.

When should I use the expanded versions of the GS1 Databar?

The expanded versions allow yo to encode additional information into the barcode, such as expiry dates, weights, batch numbers, serial numbers and more. This is mandatory if you are providing produce to major retailers, like Coles and Woolworths.

Are DataBar barcodes harder to print than normal barcodes?

No. It’s just as simple as printing EAN/UPC barcodes. As a GS1 Strategic Alliance Partner, Matthews has a range of solutions that are suitable to print DataBar, including thermal transfer overprinting for snack food, confectionary and fresh produce, label printers, and laser coding and marking.


Whilst we attempt to update this page as changes occur we do not guarantee its accuracy and recommend that you contact GS1 Australia for the most up to date advice.