GS1 2D barcodes - adding a new dimension

One small change in barcodes that’s going to create enormous benefits for your business and your customers.

The global migration to 2D barcodes offer benefits for NZ business including savings, increased food safety, enhanced traceability and greater visibility and trust for consumers.

2-dimensional: Greater visibility for retailers and consumers.

Consumers, retailers, businesses, and regulators, are wanting to know more about a product – on the shelf, online and throughout the supply chain. They’re asking for individual product detail; from expiry dates, where and how a product was produced, to how best to use and recycle it.

One small barcode can reveal a wealth of information that just can’t be squeezed into a traditional linear barcode. 

The GS1 2D barcode can have significantly more product information encoded in it, such as batch/lot number, best before date, use-by-date and weight – and all in one, single (and small) symbol. GS1 2D barcodes can also encode webpage links (DigitalLink) – so the customer can get even more information such as the brand, their sustainability story or even manuals or video guides.

Beyond food safety and food waste, 2D barcodes have the potential to provide greater visibility of products and supporting information in other sectors like health, beauty and hardware and improve the traceability of the paddock-to-plate journey and an end-to-end product life cycle.

“2D barcodes have immense potential, and we’re excited to see how they will improve food safety, traceability, and stock management.”

Richard Plunkett, GM Business Enablement, Woolworths

When will it happen in NZ?

Woolworths Australia is already working with their suppliers to roll out 2D barcodes in their supermarkets. They’re already transforming how fresh foods are managed at the point-of-sale reducing food waste by 40%.

New Zealand retailers will likely follow Australia’s lead in the coming year. Our goal is to have migrated to 2D barcodes by 2027.

2D barcodes in action

Woolworths - Australia

Woolworths Australia are using 2D barcodes with GS1 standards to achieve substantial results, including enhancing food safety and reducing food waste by up to 40%.

With 2D barcodes now in place for many items at Woolworths stores across Australia, they can manage store inventory at a more granular level, alert cashiers that a scanned product is past its expiry date - and in the future - connect a consumer to the web to provide traceability information about a product's origin and more. Read the full case study.

Parla Deli - Brazil

Parla Deli needed to reduce food waste, improve inventory management and be more confident that they weren’t letting expired products get into their customers’ shopping bags.

Parla Deli replaced manual processes with an automated system that integrates their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and point-of-sale (POS) software. Products are now labelled with a two-dimensional QR Code that contains a GS1 Digital Link. Read the full case study.

Watch - 2D barcodes webinar

On Wednesday 27 April 2022, we were joined by Roberto Olivares, Senior Project Manager Woolworths Australia, and Phil Archer, Director of Web Solutions, GS1 Global Office, to talk about what the introduction of 2D barcodes could mean for the New Zealand market. Watch now.