Which barcode goes on which packaging?

Packaging comes in all shapes and sizes and different materials. That is also why there are different types of Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN’s) and barcodes that ensure that any type of packaging can be properly scanned in any environment. 

In addition, certain barcode standards allow the encoding of other variable product data, such as weight, lot number and best before date, in addition to the GTIN. This ensures that systems can automatically capture this data when scanned. For example, they do not have to be registered manually by humans, which reduces the chance of errors.

Below you will find an overview of the most commonly used types of GTINs and barcodes. You can also find a summary in our 

Hieronder vind je een overzicht van de meest gebruikte types GTIN’s en barcodes. Een samenvatting vind je ook in onze manual.

Do you use your own software to generate GTINs and barcodes? If so, you will find all the details in our barcode manual

Do you use My Product Manager to create your GTINs and barcodes? Then this tool chooses the right code for you. 


The packaging is scanned at a POS 

Knoflook, linzen en bonen met EAN-13 barcode

For packaging that is scanned at a POS, you encode a GTIN-13 in the EAN-13-barcode. The barcode is printed on a label or directly on the packaging. 



The packaging is scanned in a logistics environment

Omverpakking met ITF-14 barcode

Secondary packaging

To save numbering capacity, you can choose to identify the outer packaging (for example a box) with a GTIN-14 instead of a GTIN-13 .



If you opt for a GTIN-13, you have the following options:

  • Print the barcode directly on the packaging: encode GTIN-13 in the ITF-14-barcode

  • Print the barcode on a label you put on the packaging: encode the GTIN-13 in the EAN-13 or the ITF-14-barcode.
    Do you want to encode the lot number and/or the best before date in the barcode in addition to the GTIN-13? Then use the GS1-128-barcode.

Please note: the GTIN-13 on the secondary packaging must not be the same as that on the primary packaging!


If you opt for a GTIN-14, you have the same options, except for the fact that a GTIN-14 cannot be encoded in an EAN-13-barcode.


Tip: check with the companies that trade or store/transport your products whether they are able to scan the chosen barcode.


Foodstuffs of variable weight 

Logistieke eenheid met GS1 Logistiek Etiket

Tertiary packaging

For tertiary packaging, such as a pallet, encode GTIN-13 or GTIN-14 in the GS1-128-barcode.

This information is printed on a GS1 Logistics Label. That label is affixed to the pallet.

Can’t find what you are looking for?

Contact the sector helpdesk


+32 2 229 18 88