QR Code

A QR code is a two-dimensional (2D) barcode that has many uses. Within GS1, it is possible to construct the QR code so that it can be used to label products that can be scanned with the camera in a smartphone or tablet.

QR codes are used to provide more detailed information to multiple recipients. The square contains many small, unique patterns where the data is encoded both horizontally and vertically. Unlike the one-dimensional barcode, a 2D code can contain large amounts of encoded information such as; a URL, user manual, or other product information that does not fit on the packaging.

Who uses QR?

Within GS1, QR codes are used to encode GS1 Digital Link. Companies using QR with GS1 Digital Link are often suppliers or producers in the grocery, retail, construction, and technical sectors.

They use the QR code to offer large amounts of information both to consumers, but also to other parties in the supply chain. A QR code is also durable and remains readable even in cases of external damage. The same symbols are used worldwide as a part of GS1’s global standards, making it easier to do business both locally and globally.

2D codes such as GS1 QR and GS1 DataMatrix can be the datcarriers of all GS1 identification keys such as GTIN for products, GLN for sites, and SSCC for packages.

They can contain a large amount of information such as;

  • a URL
  • an application
  • recipe
  • installation instructions
  • an item’s best-before date
  • serial number
  • batch number

How 2D codes are used

In the grocery and retail trade, 2D codes are used as a complement to the traditional one-dimensional barcode that can be found on products. There is global and local work going on within GS1 to eventually replace the traditional 1D barcodes with 2D barcodes, which means that after 2027, a supplier will be able to choose whether they want the traditional barcode or only 2D barcodes on their packaging, as these will be able to be scanned in standard point-of-sales.

Other industries have different conditions, which means that they already can choose to only use 2D barcodes. In the clothing and pharmacy industry, the use of 2D barcodes is already established.

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