GS1 Barcodes

Barcodes are symbols that can be scanned electronically using laser or camera-based systems.

They are used to encode information such as product numbers, serial numbers and batch numbers. Barcodes play a key role in supply chains, enabling parties like retailers, manufacturers, transport providers and hospitals to automatically identify and track products as they move through the supply chain.

GS1 manages several types of barcodes. Each is designed for use in a different situation.

EAN/UPC family

Instantly recognisable 1D barcodes used in retail all over the world.

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DataBar family

Compact 1D barcodes that can hold additional product attributes such as the weight of fresh foods. 

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One-dimensional (1D) barcodes used exclusively in general distribution and logistics

Versatile 1D barcodes used to represent ID keys and attributes in a distribution environment.

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Two-dimensional (2D) barcodes

Compact, high-capacity 2D symbols suitable for representing all GS1 keys and attributes.

GS1 recommends scanners with imaging-based capabilities

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The Future of barcodes on-pack

Business and regulatory demands on product packaging have grown dramatically in recent years. Drivers of consumer transparency, regulatory compliance, marketing engagement and sharing of traceability information are all essential considerations of industry and of the solution providers that serve them today. Today, product packaging often contains multiple barcodes and symbols that are intended to serve varied purposes. Unfortunately, they cause consumer and supply chain confusion, are not interoperable and aren’t providing maximum value to anyone across the value chain. Globally-consistent guidance from GS1 is essential as we navigate into the future.

New: The Barcode (r)Evolution