Forty years ago today, a single unified standard for product identification was unveiled to the world. Now known as the GS1 bar code, its familiar beep is heard more than five billion times each day in shops, cafés and hospitals worldwide.
BAR CODE FACTS â- The first-ever product to be scanned with a bar code was Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chewing gum in 1974
â- The first self-scanning store in the UK was Safeway in Solihull in March 1995
â- The bar codes on newspapers differ from most others because they include the number of the day in the week as the second-from-last digit and the week number in a small additional code
â- At first wine companies refused to bar code their labels because they claimed the bottles were "table decoration"
â- Bar code scanners linked to voice synthesisers are used to help blind people do their shopping. The devices can recognise and name more than 40,000 different products
Front-of-pack food labelling to be introduced next summer >>