Retailers Must Prepare for End of UPC Coupon Barcodes: JICC

The Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC) advises retailers to prepare for the retirement of the traditional UPC barcode from manufacturer coupons. The UPC Prefix 5 symbol will no longer be used after June 30, 2015. Manufacturers will then exclusively use the newer GS1 DataBar format to improve efficiency and reduce fraud and mis-redemption.  

Most existing retail scanning systems can read the GS1 DataBar, says the JICC, which is administered by the Food Marketing Institute, National Grocers Association, Grocery Manufacturers Association, and National Association of Chain Drug Stores. To ensure readiness, retailers may simply need to enable the functionality in their systems. In some instances, software and/or hardware modifications may be required. 

JICC says the inability to process the GS1 Databar at checkout exposes retailers to a number of risks, including:

  • Processing of expired or fraudulent coupons
  • Inability of customers to use coupons at self-checkout kiosks
  • Increased cashier labor and time to manually process coupons
  • Reduced profitability of promotions.

The decision to move to exclusive use of the GS1 DataBar was announced in 2007, with the phase-out period for UPC Prefix 5 barcodes beginning in 2011 and concluding June 30. 


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