Our Story


Over 50 years ago, GS1 created the world’s first barcode and launched a digital revolution that changed how the world does business forever. Through barcode scanning and the input of a GTIN number, products are easily identified, and with the use of an online system, data can be seamlessly 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 (EAN). Following this, the then Uniform Code Council (UCC) of America and all the organisations managing the issuing of UPC and EAN Identification numbers, agreed that it was essential to change the name to one that is globally recognised, namely GS1. Over four decades later, GS1’s global standards are now the most widely used throughout Africa and worldwide.

As a neutral standards body that supports over 9 000 companies, GS1 South Africa is inclusively user-driven and collaboratively trading to ensure optimal benefits in African supply chains. Our mission is to improve the efficiency of supply chains, safety and visibility across physical and digital channels using GS1’s global standards and world-leading barcodes.GS1 South Africa is the only authorised entity to administer GS1 barcodes in South Africa and for some SADC countries. No entity other than a GS1 member organisation has the authority to issue 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. This helps to ensure that important information such as where they’re from, what they are, where they have been during their supply chain journey, real-time visibility as well as their unique descriptions and features, gets recorded.

Learn about GS1’s history Become a part of GS1’s future

What We Do

Now more than ever, stakeholders and consumers desire and demand extensive, high-quality product data. They expect more information from brands to help them decide whether to engage with them or their competitors. GS1 South Africa empowers digital evolutions by enabling businesses across industries in South Africa and over 115 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, while overseeing the process for local retailers to be listed on the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN), which is an enriched data platform powered by Trusted Source, thereby 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 tangibility and traceability to the digital world of product data, ensuring each brand around the world in every industry speaks the same language, in a manner that is localised and interconnected.

Learn more Subscribe to GS1’s services

Our Benefits


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

Learn about GS1’s history Become a part of GS1’s future

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.

Our 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.

GS1 has local member organisations in 115 countries, working directly with over two million companies to ensure a common language of business worldwide and across every industry from retail to healthcare, while assisting over six billion transactions daily.

Learn more Join the GS1 global network

Who We Work With

GS1 South Africa is proud to be in collaboration with two million businesses ranging from small local brands to major international organisations, which all benefit from our global integrations and exclusive partnerships with other GS1 verified members such as:

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’Oréal, Nestle, P&G, Walmart and Dr Oetker.

We also collaborate with institutions that are focused on the development of South African SMEs, in support of efforts that build businesses and obtain markets for proudly local products.

Learn about GS1’s members Become a GS1 member