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Joint Industry Coupon Committee Calls For Comment on Reduction in GS1 DataBar Code Dimensions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) today issued the following statement with regard to a proposed reduction in size of GS1 DataBar bar codes that appear on coupons.

The databar change proposed by GS1 US on behalf of coupon issuers, would reduce the width of these bar codes by approximately 20 percent, enabling them to fit on smaller coupons or free up space on larger coupons. The width reduction is made possible by narrowing the width of bars and spaces in the bar code. On a normal coupon, the move will save at least half an inch in total width without reducing the bar code’s data capacity. The Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC) is currently soliciting comment from industry stakeholders on the proposed size reduction. The review period runs through Nov. 24, 2010. Stakeholders are encouraged to contact Logan Kastner, senior manager, industry affairs, GMA at lkastner@gmaonline.org to share feedback.

The change is being sought because manufacturers increasingly seek to create more sophisticated offers that require more data to be encoded in the bar code. The additional data increases the size of the bar code and intrudes on space used to explain the offer to the consumer. Testing of the smaller size bar codes has been conducted by GS1 US and Ohio University, following a plan accepted by the AIM Technical Symbology Committee. Some manufacturers are already issuing coupons with the smaller dimension, with no detrimental effects being reported.

The JICC works to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the development, distribution and redemption of coupons. It is composed of individuals from retailers and manufacturers who oversee coupon programs, and includes representatives from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, GS1 US, the Food Marketing Institute, National Grocers Association, and National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Overview of Proposal Technical Details of Proposal