Implementation of 2D codes in the grocery industry

During the spring of 2020, members of the trade association DLF Sweden and the Swedish Food Retailers Federation (SvDH) together with GS1 Sweden, have developed an initiative for the implementation of 2D barcodes in the grocery industry.

A decision on implementation within the grocery industry would mean a paradigm shift, where today’s one-dimensional barcodes are replaced with two-dimensional codes (QR codes and Data Matrix). The initiative covers all product categories, including variable weight goods.

The owner of this initiative is GS1 Sweden’s owner and board, who have decided that the initiative will enter the next phase, where you as a member of DLF and SvDH are recommended to start your own prestudy at your company in 2021.

About 2D barcodes

2D codes have the capacity to contain a large amount of information about products, unlike today’s barcodes which only contain a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). In addition, 2D codes can be scanned with the consumer’s mobile and read by machine, even if it is damaged. A shift to 2D means positive benefits such as;

  • increased traceability
  • effective recalls
  • reduced food waste
  • more detailed product information

… and new opportunities for direct communication with consumers. See all business benefits >>

The barcode revolution from 1D to 2D has already started in other parts of the world. In August 2020 the Australian supermarket chain Woolworths began using 2D codes for its fresh food product range in all stores.


Today’s information carrier

The barcode that we have been using for 45 years is one-dimensional with black and white vertical bars. It can only contain a GTIN, which is the unique number that identifies the product and the company behind it, but not much more than that.

Tomorrow’s information carrier

In the 2D barcode, the information is instead stored in two dimensions. This means that larger amounts of information such as weight, best-before date, batch number and serial number can be stored, in addition to GTIN.

The two-dimensional code also provides expanded possibilities to trace products throughout the supply chain.

Business benefits with 2D barcodes

Better traceability

of products in the entire value chain, which benefits the store, supplier, and consumer.

Direct communication

with consumers. For example, prescription, warranty, recall, offers, shelf life, user manuals, etc.

Effective recalls

which contributes to lower costs and higher product safety for retailer and supplier.

Reduced food waste

in store through automated price reductions on products approaching the best-before date.

Less problems when scanning

because the 2D code is a robust label that can be read even if it has external damage.

More transparency

and available digital information on a single batch (for example, meat from a specific farm).

More information for consumers

who receives detailed information about products thanks to a code that can be scanned with their mobile phone.


which gives the supplier and store the opportunity to quickly detect counterfeit products.

Why do we need your help?

This initiative will now enter the next phase where you, as a member of DLF and SvDH, are recommended to conduct your own prestudy at your company starting in January 2021.

The purpose of a joint start-up in the grocery industry is to be able to make a realistic plan for implementation based on the overall picture of the industry’s real conditions. GS1 Sweden will coordinate support and give you expertise and coordination in the work.

With your contribution, we will be able to achieve a higher insight and understanding of the industry’s level of maturity, needs and challenges. You will be able to follow the results of the work continuously as a participant in the prestudy and we will also create activities, such as webinars, to inform and inspire you during this journey.

This is how it works:

1. Register your participation

The next step is to register participation for your business by clicking the button on this page. In this way, we know which companies plan to do their own prestudies that will be part of the basis for implementation. Register your participation no later than 15 December 2020 .

2. Set aside time in 2021

As a participating member company, we would like to encourage you to set aside time to carry out your own prestudy, starting in January 2021 and closing on 30 June 2021. As support, there is a report prepared by a cross-functional project group with representatives from DLF, SvDH and GS1 Sweden.

3. Conduct a feasibility study

In the prestudy, you will need to define the time, cost and processes that are affected by the introduction of 2D barcodes. Use the checklists on this page. You will find identified areas and departments that will be affected during the prestudy.

Checklist supplier

Here you will find checklists for the departments of Marketing, Logistics and Production.

See checklist >>

Checklist retailer

Here you will find practical checklists for the departments Store, Logistics and E-commerce.

See checklist >>

4. Compile results

When the prestudy is completed, we will need your feedback to compile a basis for the next step in the implementation process for the grocery industry. The report will be communicated to all member companies in DLF and SvDH with the names of participating companies. The information from you will only be processed by DLF, SvDH and GS1 Sweden.

    Du you have questions about the prestudy?

    GS1 Sweden will collect questions that come up regarding the prestudy for implementation of 2D barcodes and then communicate the answers to you at different occasions.

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