Our Mission and History

GS1 Standards have been used for more than 40 years. In 1973, the grocery industry came together to agree on one way of doing business by adopting the U.P.C. barcode to drive speed and efficiency at retail check out. This cooperation marked the beginning of GS1 US® and our mission to help organizations of all sizes – ranging from large multi-national corporations to small start-up businesses – uniquely and consistently identify products, assets, shipments, and physical locations throughout the global supply chain while also enabling trading partners to exchange information critical to their businesses.

Today, the beep of a barcode is heard over 5 billion times per day and GS1 Standards are the most widely used system of standards in the world. More than 300,000 businesses in 25 industries are members of GS1 US, including organizations in the apparel, general merchandise, grocery retail, foodservice, and healthcare industries.

GS1 US continues to build on our ability to provide a common foundation that moves business forward - from enhancing product information transparency and enabling more precise product recalls to improving inventory visibility across retail channels and helping healthcare professionals deliver quality patient care. GS1 Standards offer businesses the capability to drive efficiencies today and innovate for tomorrow.

Though we keep our eyes on the future, here’s a quick look back at the history of our organization.

1973 – The formation of the Uniform Product Code Council (UPCC)
1974 – First live scan of a U.P.C. barcode with numbering system administered by the UPCC
1983 – UPCC adds the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards to its portfolio
1985 – Introduction of U.P.C.s for use on coupons
1989 – Introduction of first standard for shipping containers
1998 – Introduction of global data synchronization and UCCnet
2003 – Formation of EPCglobal US®
2005 – GS1 is created when UCC and EAN®, a European standards organization, merge. UCCnet combines with Transora to form 1SYNC Data Pool
2008 – Formation of GS1 Healthcare US® Launch of Produce Traceability Initiative
2009 – Launch of Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative
2010 – Industry-established start date for GS1 Global Location Numbers (GLNs) in U.S. healthcare
2011 – Industry-established start date for GS1 DataBar® on coupons in U.S. retail
2012 – Industry-established start date for GS1 Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) in U.S. healthcare
2012 - VICS merged with GS1 US™ and the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative was formed
2014 – GS1 US celebrates its 40th anniversary, commemorating the barcode that started it all that was scanned on a 10-pack of gum in a supermarket in Ohio.
2015 – GS1 US Retail Grocery Initiative formed
2015 – Industry-established start date for the GS1 US Foodservice Initiative
2015 – Formation of the Discussion Group to develop and adopt data standards and best practices for cash logistics affecting intensive cash users and businesses
2016 - Launch of strategic collaboration with Digimarc to create GS1 US Mobile Scan
2016 – Launch of GS1 US Data Hub®, combining three powerful online tools to identify, create, manage, use, and verify data in one convenient, data-sharable platform.

In this publication, the letters “U.P.C.” are used solely as an abbreviation for the “Universal Product Code”, which is a product identification system. They do not refer to the UPC, which is a federally registered certification mark of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) to certify compliance with a Uniform Plumbing Code as authorized by IAPMO.