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Since 1973 GS1 has opened offices in over 110 countries and amassed more than 2 million members using supply chain standards that make business easier. Learn about key dates in our history.
1973: The barcode standard is agreed
Industry leaders in the US select a single standard for product identification. Still used today, it’s known as the GS1 barcode.
1974: The first barcode is scanned
On 26 June, a packet of chewing gum becomes the first barcoded product to be scanned in a supermarket.
1977: The GS1 system is launched
The European Article Numbering (EAN) Association — later called GS1 — opens an office in Brussels. Its founding members launch an identification system to improve supply chain efficiency.
1983: Barcodes are used on wholesale multi-packs
As barcodes have proved their reliability and usefulness in real-world environments, they are extended and used on product outer cases.
1989: GS1 moves beyond barcodes
With wide area networks making an impact on supply chains, we create our first international standard for electronic data interchange.
1990: Responsibilities grow
The US and international arms of GS1 come together formally, creating a single organisation with a presence in 45 countries.
1995: First healthcare standards created
We expand our work into the healthcare sector, working closely with healthcare bodies and providers.
1999: The GS1 DataBar arrives
After significant research and design, the GS1 DataBar is created. This holds more information than a barcode, yet is significantly smaller.
2000: 90th local office opens
In just ten years, we double the number of countries in which we have a local presence.
2002: Global standards forum launched
Our Global Standards Management Process is launched. This global forum gives GS1 members one place to discuss standards.
2004: The first standard for RFID is created
With Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chips becoming more common, we create a standard for their implementation and use.
2007: GS1 enters the business-to-consumer world
As ecommerce grows, we begin to create open standards that give consumers direct access to key product information.
2013: A 40-year celebration
With a presence in over 100 countries and more than a million members, we celebrate 40 years of the global language of business.