How we got here

Over 50 years ago, GS1 created the world’s first barcode & launched a digital revolution that changed the way the world does business forever. Today 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.

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. Where they are from, what they are, where they have been during their supply-chain journey, as well as their unique descriptions & features.

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.

It all began with a barcode

In 1974, chewing gum became the first product with a GS1 barcode to be scanned in store.

Today, our approved barcodes are scanned over 6 billion times every day. From scanning groceries, or buying products online, to locating equipment in hospitals quickly enough to save a life. If you want to put a barcode on an item that can be scanned anywhere in the world, or seen on Google, Facebook, Amazon, Takealot or Ebay you need to talk to GS1 South Africa.

It all began with a barcode

  • 1971

    The GTIN is created by Industry Leaders

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

  • 1982

    GS1 South Africa opened its doors

    GS1 South Africa was created, first known as the South African Numbering Association.

  • 2002

    Launched the Product Data Catalogue PDC

    Which allowed trusted data to be shared automatically between brands & buyers.

  • 2007

    GS1 enters the business - to - consumer world

    As E-commerce grows, GS1 began to create open standards that give consumers direct access to key product information.

  • 2012

    Launch of to support the Healthcare Industry

    GS1 is launching to support healthcare providers & medical suppliers in South Africa and the SADC region.

  • 2018

    Started the master data services certification

    Involves training member to improve data quality at the source by establishing and certifying the Brand Owner's Certification program.

  • 2020

    Launched Activate, Verified by GS1 and the Enriched Data Platform

    AS E-commerce grows, GS1 began to create open standards that give consumers direct access to key product information.

  • 2022

    Added the Online Barcode Application System

    We have created an Online Barcode Application System that makes acquiring barcodes a lot easier from wherever you are.

Over four decades later, GS1’s global standards are the most widely used throughout Africa and around the world. Throughout every stage of the supply chain, our collaboration with partners, businesses and enterprises of all sizes helps companies by providing a common language for international trade and commerce. GS1 facilitates the adoption & implementation of global barcode standards, improving the efficiency of supply chains for all stakeholders. With the help of GS1’s supply chain standards enterprises become more efficient and gain competitive advantage.