40th Anniversary for the GS1 Barcode
Today marks 40 years since the system that replaced the label gun in grocery stores first came into use. The GS1 barcode system (as seen on all supermarket products) was first adopted in the USA in 1973. The first item scanned in the US was a packet of Wrigley’s chewing gum in 1974. The UK didn’t catch up until 1978 where the first item scanned was a box of Melrose teabags. More than 5 billion GS1 bar codes are now scanned every day across the globe. The GS1 barcode system has also been extended in recent years to include RFID tags and the GS1 DataBar. The GS1 DataBar is used for small items such as apples.
The GS1 Barcode system is now used far beyond groceries, with the NHS saving money by using barcodes to keep track of sell-by dates on pharmaceuticals. It also functions as an important means of transferring information between retailers in different countries, bridging the language barrier for many.
The GS1 barcode has truly shaped the way we shop and maximised the efficiency of businesses across the world, so we raise our glasses to toast the GS1 barcode system and wish it a very happy fortieth!