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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.

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.