Barcodes NZ

Information sheet on retail barcode usage in New Zealand


What type of barcodes are used in New Zealand?

The most common barcode format used on retail products in New Zealand is the EAN-13 (International Article Number).   The UPC-A (Universal Product Code) is less common but also used within NZ.   EAN-13 is a 13 digit superset of the 12 digit UPC-A.  Since 2005 these two standards are read interchangeably by scanners worldwide.  We supply authentic and valid EAN-13 and UPC-A barcodes to New Zealand business who require a limited number of barcodes for their products, but who don’t want the ongoing expense of direct GS1 membership.

Other less common formats seen in new Zealand are EAN-8 and UPC-E barcodes.  These are smaller 8 digit codes used on products with a limited surface area. These numbers are only available from GS1 directly.    Product owners must meet strict requirements to be approved to use EAN-8.  GS1 NZ require proofs of your product packaging to determine if your product qualifies.

Are there any restrictions on Barcodes in New Zealand?

Barcode polices and guidelines are set by retailers. This can vary from store to store.  Generally most retailers simply require a globally unique EAN-13 or UPC-A that scans correctly at POS.  There are however a couple of larger retailers in New Zealand who require vendors to be a member of GS1 NZ, namely Super Retail Group and Foodstuffs NZ.  Aside from these, some retailers may require a Barcode Verification report to test the barcode quality, see Barcode Verification.  Our barcodes will pass a verification report given they’re printed correctly and within the 80% – 200% magnification range, meaning they’ll be accepted into most larger retailers.  Most other retailers do not have any specific barcode restrictions in place.

We recommend contacting your retailers and distributors to determine if they have any spefic requirements before purchasing barcodes. You can request a vendor agreement or supplier guidelines document from most retailers. Larger chains will often have these documents readily available online.

Can a barcode prove the country of origin of a product?

The leading digits of a barcode do not demonstrate the country of origin of a product. The “country code” indicates the branch of GS1 that issued the prefix, but this doesn’t tell you the product or manufacturer origin.  The prefix issued by GS1 NZ is in the 940–949 range.  Barcode numbers issued by barcode re-sellers including Barcode Savers are generally prefixed 060 – 089, indicating the numbers were originally issued by the Uniform Code Council (UCC) prior to it becoming GS1 US.  These numbers are not bound by current GS1 licensing arrangements and do not incur a subscription fee. They can be used in New Zealand and globally. To purchase our EAN and UPC numbers visit our purchase page here.

How can I demonstrate my product is “Made in NZ”?

To show that your product is made in New Zealand please see Business NZ’s ‘Buy NZ Made‘ Campaign. Your business and product will need to meet eligibility requirements to qualify for a license and use the Kiwi trademark. 

Ready to purchase barcodes?  Buy Barcodes here.