Story of GS1 South Africa


Over 50 years ago, GS1 created the world’s first barcode & launched a digital revolution that changed the way the world does business forever. With the scan of a barcode or the input of a GTIN number, products are identified and with an online system, data is able to be shared.

In 1982 GS1 opened GS1 South Africa, which was initially known as the South African Numbering Association (SANA), a representation of the European Article Numbering Association or (EAN) . Following this, the then Uniform Code Council (UCC) of America and all the organisations managing the issuing of UPC & EAN Identification numbers then agreed that it was essential to change the name to one globally recognised one, namely GS1. Over 4 decades later, GS1’s global standards are the most widely used throughout Africa and around the world.

As a neutral standards body that supports over 12,000 companies, GS1 South Africa is inclusively user-driven & collaboratively trading to ensure optimal benefits in African supply chains . Our mission is to improve the efficiency, safety & visibility of supply chains across physical & digital channels with the use of GS1’s global standards & world leading barcodes.GS1 South Africa is the only authorised entity authorised to administer GS1 barcodes in South Africa and for some SADC countries. No other entity, other than a GS1 member organisation has the authority to issue out GS1 identifiers in Southern Africa.

GS1 South Africa enables trusted quality data to be shared everywhere, collaborating with thousands of local companies and millions of global businesses, together telling the stories behind products, locations, cargo and more. Important information such as where they’re from, what they are, where they have been during their supply-chain journey, adding real-time visibility as well as their unique descriptions & features.

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What GS1 South Africa does

Today’s stakeholders & consumers desire and demand extensive product data that’s of a higher quality than ever before. They expect more information from brands to help them make decisions about whether or not to engage with them or their competitors. GS1 South Africa empowers digital evolutions by enabling businesses across industries in South Africa and over 115 other countries to create online versions of inventory that is as persuasive as experiencing physical products in person. Allowing for global and local partnerships to be formed.

GS1 South Africa exclusively issues unique barcodes (GTINS) to products and oversees the process for local retailers to be listed on the Global Data Synchronisation Network, also known as the GDSN, which is an enriched data platform powered by Trusted Source. Connecting brands with buyers and people with products. Businesses, consumers, patients, partners and regulators benefit from increased transparency and a seamless product experience that gives a tangibility & traceability to the digital world of product data. Ensuring each brand around the world in every industry, speaks the same language, so global is localised and international is interconnected.

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GS1 Benefits


Businesses of every size need unique identifiers like barcodes, GTINs ,GLNS & SSCC’s & more to correctly identify and sell their products both in stores or online. The power of organised data captured and shared through GS1 helps solve complex challenges on both global and local scales.

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Increase the speed of global & local operations.


Reduce cost, errors and waste both online & off.


Protect all stakeholders from supplier to end-user


Optimise access to reliable product data


Simplify the sourcing & selling of products.


Improve experiences with data across industries.

GS1 Global Network

GS1 is a neutral, global network that brings industries, government, academia, regulators, and associations together with collaborative platforms to develop solution-based standards that address the challenges of modern data exchange for each unique business sector.

With local member organisations in 115 countries. GS1 works directly with over 2 million companies, ensuring there is a common language of business around the world, and across every industry from retail to healthcare, assisting over 6 billion transactions daily.

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Who GS1 South Africa works with

Two million businesses of every size, from small local brands to major international organisations. Designed for collaboration, users benefit from global integrations & exclusive partnerships with our other GS1 verified members like:

Takealot, Woolworths, Spar, Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay, Food Lover’s Market, Tiger Brands, Clover, Netcare, Clicks, Dis-chem, Massmart, Amka, Rhodes, RCL, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Nestle, P&G, Walmart, Dr Oetker.

We also collaborate with institutions who are focused on the development of small South African businesses to support efforts to build businesses and obtain markets for proudly local products.

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