Next Generation of Barcodes

GS1 next generation of barcode will be a QR code powered by GS1(*). It can be a GS1 Datamatrix or a QR code empowered with GS1 Digital Link standard. This next generation of barcode will offer more possibilities and still goes beep at the cash register!
(*) A QR code is a graphical image that stores information both horizontally and vertically. As a result, the storage capacity for this next generation of barcodes is much higher than 1D codes.

Small but powerful

More information

Next generation of barcode may contain extra information such as lot number, expiry date, net content,… as it can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters

Less space

Next generation of barcode is a lot smaller and takes a fraction of the space a linear barcode takes.

Increased accuracy

Next generation of barcodes are more resilient to damage and can be read even if some parts of the code are obscured.


Next generation of barcodes can be printed on a variety of materials and surfaces, including paper, plastic, and metal. They can also be scanned from a wider range of angles and distances, making them versatile. 

This makes them an attractive option for businesses and organisations that need to track and manage large amounts of data. Also, the more data you can store in a data carrier, the more processes can be automated and the fewer manual input is needed, which results in lower risk of errors. 

Ambition 2027

Evolutie barcode naar QR code powered by GS1

By the end of 2027, GS1 ambition is for all retailers worldwide to be able to scan the next generation of barcodes at checkouts.

There is a transition period to help brand owners and retailers slowly but surely adapt to the next generation of barcodes. During this transition period, brand owners can add the next generation of barcode alongside their linear barcodes. This allows retailers to already enjoy the benefits of the next generation of barcodes without making it impossible for other retailers to simply scan the product at their checkout.


This transition period is temporary and by the end of 2027 only one QR code could remain on the label. But this next generation of barcode is not an obligation for suppliers so the traditional linear barcode can and certainly will continue to be used in some cases.

Types of next generation barcodes

The GS1-Datamatrix and the QR code powered by GS1 are the most commonly used options. Both have their uses with their advantages and disadvantages, which is why we want to give brand owners the freedom to choose which best applies to their needs.

 In both types of barcodes, you can encode the same information, but admittedly in a different way (a different "syntax"). In the example below, GTIN 05410000945631 and lot number ABC123 are encoded.

digital link + QR differences

The GS1 Digital Link is a standardised syntax (in the example on the right) for a link to a website (URL) in which product information such as the GTIN, the lot number or, for example, the best-before date is included. Thanks to this standardised syntax, a scanner at the Point Of Sale can retrieve the product information for price look-up from the URL itself.

Questions or feedback

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