How we got here

Since 1973, we have 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.

It all began with a barcode

Beep! On 26 June 1974, a packet of chewing gum became the first barcoded product to be scanned in store. Today, barcodes play a crucial supply chain role, ensuring products hit retail shelves at the right times.

We manage the barcode standard used by retailers, manufacturers and suppliers. If you want to put a barcode on an item that can be scanned anywhere in the world, you need to talk to us.

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Industry Agreement to Collaborate

Industry leaders agree to use a “universal product code” for product identification. This identifier is called the Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN, today.


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.


The first barcode is scanned

On 26 June, a packet of chewing gum becomes the first barcoded product to be scanned in a supermarket.


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.


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.


GS1 moves beyond barcodes

With wide area networks making an impact on supply chains, we create our first international standard for electronic data interchange.


Responsibilities grow

The US and international arms of GS1 come together formally, creating a single organisation with a presence in 45 countries.


First healthcare standards created

We expand our work into the healthcare sector, working closely with healthcare bodies and providers.


GS1 UAE office opens

With the GS1 UAE office opening at the start of the century, GS1 doubles the number of countries with a local presence in just ten years.


Global standards forum launched

Our Global Standards Management Process is launched. This global forum gives GS1 members one place to discuss standards.


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.


First 500 customers for GS1 UAE

GS1 UAE gets its first 500 customers since opening its office.


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.


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.


Global GS1 Healthcare Conference in Dubai

Dubai hosts the 2016 Global GS1 Healthcare Conference with nearly 300 attendees from 40+ countries.


GS1 UAE launches BrandSync

GS1 UAE launches its BrandSync platform, a smart, collaborative, and efficient product information and management hub.


GS1 MEMA Regional Forum

The GS1 MOs from the MEMA region meet in Dubai to discuss the status of regional projects and how they can respond to challenges in the region.


50 years of the GTIN

GS1 celebrates 50 years of the Global Trade Item Number! An iconic moment in history.


1500 customers for GS1 UAE

GS1 UAE marks a total of 1500 customers in 2021.


50 years of the barcode!

GS1 celebrates half a century of the barcode empowering digital transformation since its inception in 1973.