50 Years of the GTIN, The Origin of Digitalisation


We are experiencing the era of the digitalisation, the e-commerce, the online information, and we have been doing it for the last 50 years, since the birth of the GTIN – Global Trade Identification Number, the number capable of identifying in a standardised manner the product information marketed and utilised globally; the number that pairs with the barcode and that caused a revolution in the retail world; the number that enabled the development of a system that was multiplied until it reached the QR code and with it, to the digital link.

Digitalisation opened doors for the B2B and the B2C to enable the visibility and transparency that the food chain information needs, for example, to share with the trading partners and the consumers, information that the consumers want to have before making their purchases to validate the quality, origin and authenticity of the products.

Digitalisation was consolidated with the GS1 Digital Link which facilitates through the GTIN the access to additional product data such as ingredients, instructions for use, traceability, or stories that convey and add new value; and today, more than ever it has been consolidated through the e-commerce with marketplaces such as Amazon, E-Bay, Mercado Libre, among others, for those sites the GTIN is a necessary requirement to streamline sales. Digitalisation enabled many small and medium enterprises to access new markets beyond their physical location, and were able to offer their products to a broader range of customers.

GS1 made it possible: first by digitalising mass consumption, later medicines, agri-food and other sectors, shortly after electronic documents, also means of payment, and in all that process the GTIN was the access key for all the information of all the supply chains, like the hashtag is today for all the social media.