Retailers are being advised to check their scanning equipment for compatibility with a new form of barcode scheduled for introduction in 2014.

The GS1 DataBar is half the size of the current barcode found on products and therefore can be placed on smaller items such as loose fresh produce. It provides additional information to retailers and manufacturers on expiry dates, weights, batch numbers and serial numbers.

Most scanning equipment purchased since 2000 is said to be able to read the new code, although some will require upgrades and the majority will need the built-in GS1 option enabled.

A new website,, has been launched to inform independent retailers about the new system and help ensure they are ready for its introduction. It also provides a list of scanning machines that are already GS1 DataBar compliant.

GS1 UK solutions manager Tim Brown said that retailers needed to start planning for the changeover. "It is essential that stores start checking systems now," he explained.