40 Year Anniversary of the First Barcode Scan – A Pack of Gum

Today marks the 40 year anniversary of the first scan of a GS1 barcode in a retail environment – which all started with a pack of Wrigley Juicy Fruit gum at a Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio on June 26, 1974! 

No one could have ever expected how a simple technology like the barcode would go on to shape and mold the retail landscape. The familiar beep of the scanner is now heard around the world up to six billion times a day! 

The GS1 system was created to establish a common retail language to identify products no matter where they were made or sold. Each country and manufacturer has a unique set of numbers to easily track products. With a simple barcode and scanner, businesses could manage the retail chain more accurately and efficiently. 

From a humble beginning, the barcode has come to be found not just on every piece of product packaging, but in just about every facet of the modern economy from manufacturing to supply logistics.