What is GS1?
GS1 is a not-for-profit organization that sets global standards for businesses to improve efficiency and transparency across the supply chain. GS1 has over 1.5 Million user companies that rely on the organization’s standards to help streamline operations, address industry challenges, and position their businesses to respond to changing market conditions. GS1 barcodes have become the gold standard for food businesses implementing digital business data management and exchange. As a GS1 Solution Partner, FoodLogiQ has built our platform on GS1 standards.
GS1 is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium and has 114 Member Organizations (M.O.’s) around the globe. These M.O.’s help their local members apply these global standards, and navigate national and local regulatory requirements. FoodLogiQ is a member of GS1 US.
GS1 Standards in Action with Chick-fil-A
Learn more about tech-enabled traceability and how leading brands like Chick-fil-A are preparing for the FDA’s proposed requirements.
Understanding GS1 Barcodes
GS1 introduced the barcode in 1974 in collaboration with leaders from the grocery industry. Barcodes have since become a scalable instrument for businesses to share data in accordance with GS1 open standards. From farmer to retailer, these standards create a common language that enables global systems of exchange. GS1 barcodes are scanned over six billion times each day.
Barcodes can be applied at all levels of the product hierarchy, from the consumer unit, to the case pack and finally at the pallet level. Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) are globally unique identifiers for products that are encoded into the barcode.
Barcodes can include more than just GTIN information. For example, each section of the GS1-128 barcode can represent a key piece of information related to the product expressed in a standardized format.
Below is a sample GS1-128 barcode generated for FoodLogiQ to help illustrate the way data can be communicated. For Foodservice, the industry has agreed on 3 key components:
- (01) Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)
- (AI) Date Information
- (10) Batch/Lot
Read about the GS1-128 Barcode for the food industry for more information on how to get started.
GS1 US Case Studies
GS1 standards make supply chain-wide interoperability possible, codifying inter-business communications and enabling visibility across nodes and food chain events. Industry initiatives like the New Era of Smarter Food Safety emphasize that chain-wide communication and consistency are key. Adopting shared data standards is widely considered the most important step for the food industry to take towards traceability. Without a shared language, traceability programs are less likely to be implemented successfully industry-wide.
View “Interoperability in the New Era: Working Across Ecosystems, Speaking the Same Language” to learn more about the GS1 US multi-phase proof-of-concept focused on supply chain visibility between FoodLogiQ, ripe.iO, IBM and SAP, and how this collaboration removes the perceived barriers to full supply chain transparency. You can also read more about FoodLogiQ’s participation, dedication to interoperability and collaboration with GS1 here.
Traceability standards will improve relations with your trading partners, make staying compliant with regulation easier, and will enable important business practices like product authentication. For a detailed overview of GS1 and traceability, download the Implementation Guideline for Case-Level Traceability Using GS1 Standards.
Learn more about the GS1 US interoperability proof-of-concept to advance food traceability across the supply chain.
Get Started with GS1 Standards
FoodLogiQ is a GS1 Solution Partner. The FoodLogiQ Connect platform was built on GS1 standards in order to deliver true farm-to-fork traceability with standardized product information. Our traceability solution provides visibility at every step throughout the food supply chain. We have multiple GS1 certified staff members ready to help you get started today.
Food Industry Resources
● GS1 US Foodservice Standards Microsite
● Get Started Guide for Barcodes
● Implementation Guideline for Case Level Traceability
● GS1 and Blockchain: What this Means for the Food Industry
● Common Mistakes on GS1-128 Barcode Implementation
● GS1 Standards In Action: Traceability
● GS1 Traceability Standards Document
● Traceability for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Implementation Guide
● GS1 Barcodes Factsheet
This graphic is owned by GS1 US and copyright protected. Image Courtesy of GS1 US.
GS1 utilizes globally unique identifiers for products and locations. These can then be used across any supply chain to look up product information in a database, or be encoded into a data carrier and then capture information through scanning the barcode.
GTIN®: the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a 14 digit identifier for products or services exchanged in the supply chain. For products, companies will assign a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). These are comprised of four components: 1) Indicator Digit, 2) Your GS1 Company Prefix, 3) Item Reference Number, 4) Check Digit.
GTIN Example: 10847976000040
1 = Indicator Digit
0847976 = FoodLogiQ GS1 Company Prefix
00004 = Item Reference Number
0 = Check Digit
The Check Digit is calculated and there are several tools to create them. GTIN is an attribute in FoodLogiQ Connect, and the system can automatically generate the check digit, per the GS1 Standard. Read the GS1 US resource on how to Identify Product with a GTIN for more information.
GLN: the Global Location Number (GLN) is a 13 digit identifier for locations, both physical or digital, which can be as specific as a location within a store or an instance in a database. GLNs can also be descriptive of legal entities. For products, companies will assign a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). These are comprised of three components: 1) Your GS1 Company Prefix, 2) Item Reference Number, 3) Check Digit.
GLN Example: 0847976000005
0847976 = FoodLogiQ GS1 Company Prefix
00000 = Location Reference Number
5 = Check Digit
The Check Digit is calculated and there are several tools to create them. GLN is an attribute in FoodLogiQ Connect, and the system can automatically generate the check digit, per the GS1 Standard. Read the GS1 US resource on how to Identify Location with GLN for more information.
AI: Application Identifiers (AIs) are two-digit numerical prefixes that correlate to specific data elements. AIs are used in barcodes and EPC-Enabled RFID tags to denote the specific type of data being relayed. Read the Voluntary GS1-128 Barcode Guideline to reference the AIs used in the Foodservice Industry.
U.P.C.: the Universal Product Code (UPC) is a 12 digit number used in barcodes that are human and machine readable to identify unique products at points of sale.
EAN: European Article Numbers (EANs) are 13 digit numbers used in barcodes that are human and machine readable to identify unique products at points of sale.
GS1 DataBar®: GS1 DataBar is one of the symbolic languages used in GS1 barcoding to encode data. DataBar barcodes are used for labeling fresh foods and can hold pertinent information like an item’s batch number or expiry date.
ITF-14: GS1 uses “Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF)” barcoding for encoding GTINs. ITF barcoding encodes data in the white space between black barcode symbols, in addition to the black symbols, in order to store more data. These are traditionally used at the case level.
GS1-128: the GS1-128 (formerly UCC/EAN-128) is a variant of code 128, which can encode all ASCII alphanumeric characters in barcode format. GS1-128 defines both data types and formats that are used for exchange and logistics between entities. GS1-128 allows companies to share company, product, and shipping information including items like GTIN, ship date, lot/batch number, and more. Read the Foodservice Implementation Guideline for Case-Level Traceability Using GS1 Standards, as well as the Retail Grocery GS1-128 Implementation Guide for more information on how to get started. For tips on how to avoid common mistakes read our Common Mistakes on GS1-128 Barcode Implementation document.
GS1 DataMatrix: the GS1 Datamatrix is a two dimensional barcode, meaning data is stored across multiple dimensions. Data is encoded in a machine readable square or rectangle in the form of a black and white pattern, which can be read horizontally or vertically. These codes are used in cases where a larger data capacity is required.
GS1 QR Code: GS1 QR Codes are two dimensional barcodes, meaning data is stored across multiple dimensions. Data is encoded in a machine readable square or rectangle in the form of a black and white pattern, which can be read horizontally or vertically. Though similar in form, these codes have an even higher data capacity than the GS1 DataMatrix. GS1 QR codes are typically used to store extended packaging. GS1 QR codes must store GTIN information.
EPC®-Enabled RFID: Electronic Product Codes (EPCs) are stored using with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) sensors to track products across the supply chain. RFID technology uses radio wave-based readers to activate and read tags that store data. These relatively cheap pieces of hardware allow product data transfer without a visual barcode.
EDI: the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a data messaging system that allows businesses to share standardized data electronically. EDI software is used to share product, logistics, and transaction documentation between businesses.
XML: eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is a flexible markup language used to encode, describe, and store data using various tags, nodes or elements. XML is similar to other markup languages like HTML, but is a more customizable way to digitize or share data.
EPCIS: Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) is a GS1 standard for formatting business event data, as well as the development of interfaces for sharing (capturing and quarrying) this data between multiple stakeholders. Events that may be included in EPCIS visibility data include points of product movement, transformation, or exchange.
BLOCKCHAIN: Blockchain is an emerging technology for distributed data management and transactions. The technology is a promising tool for companies to transact with each other and move assets around the world in a secure manner. GS1 standards will help enable the use of blockchain technologies by providing a framework for shared formats, processes, and data types.