Keyvisual GS1 Belgilux Forum 2024

Product identification along with exchanging product and packaging information were in the spotlight at the GS1 Belgilux Forum

The GS1 Belgilux Forum is already over! This year’s inspiring event was attended by more than 400 visitors. Around twenty enthusiastic speakers shared their thoughts on two main topic areas: first, the requirement for product identification and exchanging product information and second, the transition to a circular economy. Relive the GS1 Belgilux Forum 2024 in a nutshell.

Watch here the presentations and recordings

European Green Deal

The circular economy is one of the main building blocks in the European Green Deal. Over the next few years, we will see a range of legislation that will significantly impact the exchange of information on a range of issues, including sustainability. Combining next-generation barcodes with the GS1 Digital Link will support this information exchange and open the door to a circular economy. Getting ahead of the game now is a sure way to secure a competitive advantage. The event featured a range of different use cases highlighting the next-generation barcodes and their importance for a circular economy.

Product identification required for all sectors

Barcodes as a unique product identification method using GTINs have now been around for 50 years. That is how  Marc Henkens opened the event. Since then, retailers across a range of sectors have come to use this system and GTINs are even required in marketplaces these days. Greet Dekocker and Marc Perin van Becom confirmed that unique identification can be used for a number of purposes, including preventing counterfeit products.

GS1 Forum

However, changing requirements mean that supply chains and consumers need more information than just the GTIN in a barcode. The new generation of barcodes allow suppliers to incorporate and exchange additional information – and even to make it available online. This is also required for compliance with the deluge of legislation in the pipeline for all sectors as part of the European Green Deal. All companies are now responsible for taking action to make this Green Deal a reality. The “QR code powered by GS1” will support compliance and enable the sharing of accurate, up-to-date information, both offline and online.

Exchanging product information

GS1 is synonymous with the efficient exchange of product information – and companies including Coca-Cola Europacific Partners and Colruyt Group are convinced of this. Hilde De Geest from Coca-Cola Europacific Partners firmly believes that it is time to say goodbye to exchanging product information via Excel spreadsheets and PDFs. Dimitri Sonck from Colruyt Group subsequently confirmed his stance by setting out their project PI-Fast, with which they intend to make My Product Manager the unique source of product information for brands and private labels.

Next generation of barcodes

As has been explained by various stakeholders in the healthcare sector, barcodes that contain more data (GS1 DataMatrix) add more value across the supply chain, including greater traceability. These benefits will also pay off in retail with the next-generation barcodes. More encoded data will unlock potential developments such as preventing food waste.

My Product Manager

Creating a GS1 Digital Link is straightforward in My Product Manager – as demonstrated in just a few steps by Robin Goossens, Standardization Manager at GS1 Belgilux. The Flamingo use case, presented by Dave Diels, showcases the additional possibilities for consumer engagement.

The QR code powered by GS1 still beeps when scanned at the check-out; in other words, we’ll soon be able to retire the traditional barcode with lines. Although that won’t happen overnight, it will be by the end of 2027, which is close enough that we can legitimately say “before too much longer”. In order to be ready for 2027, Colruyt Group is working hard in its laboratory on testing the QR code powered by GS1, while Hubo – in collaboration with Varo – has already updated its check-out systems. 

Transition to a circular economy

Reusing packaging and moving toward a circular economy were also important topics at the event. Henriane Guillot told us more about the Green Deal Anders Verpakt (Green Deal Different Packaging) initiative. Wim van Edom van Comeos drilled deeper into this topic, taking a look at the various labels that products must and should have, as well as how the QR code powered by GS1 can be used to support this. This message was further underlined by Alexia Bertrand, State Secretary for Budget and Consumer Protection, who seeks to ensure that consumers receive the information they need to be able to make informed choices. Finally Dirk Leroy, Managing Director at Sustenuto, talked in more detail about deforestation legislation and how the GS1 Digital Link is supporting compliance with this legislation. In a circular economy, materials are reused wherever possible. Tom Domen, Innovation Orchestrator at Made, told us about a user-friendly concept that makes it easy for consumers to fill containers, such as reusable bottles, from a refill station.

Sustainable packaging

Evelien Deridder from Colruyt Group and Anke Roeyen from Coca-Cola Europacific Partners then shared some of their companies’ initiatives aimed at reducing packaging and making it more sustainable. After that, Wouter Schaekers, Director Product Supply & Sustainability at Procter & Gamble, introduced the audience to the Holy Grail 2.0 initiative, where smart sorting is facilitated using an invisible digital watermark. It goes without saying that better sorting starts with disposing of packaging correctly. The Looping app, which is aimed at consumers, shows them sorting instructions when they scan the product barcode, according to Renaud Gryspeerdt, CEO at Looping. In other words, the Looping app is the Shazam of sorting instructions. It operates by using the packaging information available in My Product Manager.

As you can see, the day was packed with inspiring topics and we hope that you enjoyed the event! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, speakers, and everyone involved in organizing it. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Watch the presentations and recordings

FMCG & Foodservice Garden & pet Do-It-Yourself
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FMCG & Foodservice Garden & pet Do-It-Yourself
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