Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)

What are GTINs?

A GTIN is a number that can be used by a company to uniquely identify all its trade items. It is the number found in the barcode. GS1 defines trade items as products or services that are priced, ordered or invoiced at any point in the supply chain.

The GTIN can be used to identify types of products at any packaging level (e.g., consumer unit, inner pack, case, pallet). Groups of trade items with similar production and usage characteristics such as production batches can be further identified with the help of the batch / lot number, expiry date, and similar data elements. Individual trade items can be uniquely identified using a GTIN plus serial number.

The brand owner, the organisation that owns the specifications of the trade item regardless of where and by whom it is manufactured, is normally responsible for the allocation of the GTIN. On joining GS1 Australia, the brand owner licences a GS1 Company Prefix, which is for the sole use of the company to which it is allocated.

The brand owner is the organisation that owns the trade item specifications and may be:

  • The manufacturer or supplier: The company that manufactures the trade item or has it manufactured, in any country, and sells it under its own brand name.
  • The importer or wholesaler: The importer or wholesaler that has the trade item manufactured, in any country and sells it under its own brand name or the importer or wholesaler that changes the trade item (for example by modifying the packaging of the trade item).
  • The retailer: The retailer that has the trade item manufactured, in any country, and sells it under its own private label.