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Julianne Ponan MBE joins GS1 UK as a non-executive director to help SMEs harness the power of NextGen QR codes

London, 09 November 2023 – GS1 UK has announced the appointment of award-winning businesswoman and free-from pioneer, Julianne Ponan MBE, to the supervisory board.

As founder and CEO of the highly successful allergy free food brand Creative Nature, Julianne will use her deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing UK SMEs to help GS1 UK members grow their businesses and harness the power of next-generation barcodes.

As a sufferer of anaphylaxis to all nuts, some seeds and certain additives, Julianne spent years carefully studying allergen information before deciding what to buy. After becoming frustrated with the current options available on the free-from market, as well as the lack of easy access to clear, trusted allergen information, she founded Creative Nature in 2012 and has worked tirelessly to position her brand at the forefront of free-from innovation.

Creative Nature has since gone from strength to strength, growing from a small, purpose-led challenger in to one of the UK’s leading allergy safe brands.

Offering a range of snacks and baked products, all guaranteed to offer nutritional value while being completely free from the top 14 allergens, Creative Nature has secured lucrative listings with many of the UK’s leading retailers including Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Co-Op, Asda, Tesco, Wholefoods, TK Maxx and Amazon.

The brand has also enjoyed great success overseas. It exports to 16 counties and is now driving change for free-from food in the aviation industry, launching products on board Virgin Atlantic and more.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions to business, exports, and aiding individuals with allergies, Julianne was honoured with an MBE in the New Year's Kings Honours in 2023. She also holds the position of Export Policy Champion for the FSB. As member of GS1 UK herself, Julianne has been a keen advocate of the benefits of membership.

Her insights and experiences as the founder of a highly successful business will bolster GS1 UK’s SME proposition, ensuring it reflects their diverse needs and provides the best possible support, products and services.

This includes harnessing the power of the next generation of on-pack labelling - QR codes powered by GS1. By connecting a product’s unique identity to multiple online sources, these revolutionary new on-pack symbols allow brands to speak directly to consumers through a simple smartphone scan, providing instant access to trusted information, real-time content and richer personalised experiences.

Creative Nature were among the first adopters and now use QR codes powered by GS1 to ensure their consumers have consistent, easy access to trusted allergen information.

Commenting on her appointment, Julianne said: “As member of GS1 UK myself, I am thrilled to be joining the forward-thinking supervisory board. Creative Nature has benefitted greatly from the support and guidance available through our membership. I look forward to extending that to my fellow founders and seeing their businesses thrive.

“I am particularly excited to explore how the next generation of barcodes can transform the next fifty years of retail, keep consumers informed and protected with vital informant they can trust, and help other purpose-led brands share their stories. Having founded an SME, I also hope to give a voice that can highlight the challenges members face and enable opportunities for growth in the SME market for GS1 UK.”

Chris Tyas OBE, chair of GS1 UK, said: “I am incredibly pleased to welcome Julianne to the board. With SME’s accounting for roughly three quarters of our 59,000 strong membership, her experience and knowledge of what it takes to build a successful business will prove invaluable, not only to our organisation but also to our members.

“I look forward to working together to refine our membership proposition and strategic direction. As a passionate advocate for those with allergies and early adopter of QR codes powered by GS1, her support will be invaluable as we develop this new technology and drive wider adoption. This will ultimately create transformative industry change for the better, ensuring consumers are equipped with the information they need to make more sustainable, safer and smarter choices.”


Notes to editors

For further information or requests for interviews, contact Alex Cox: 07464 946 769;

About GS1 UK

Whether online, in store or in a hospital, the common language of GS1 global standards is helping our community of more than 58,000 organisations across the UK to uniquely identify, describe and track anything, creating greater trust in data for everyone.

From product barcodes to patient wristbands, GS1 standards have been transforming the way we work and live for nearly 50 years.

GS1 UK is one of 116 neutral and independent GS1 organisations operating worldwide.

About Creative Nature

Creative Nature is a renowned Free From food brand, specialising in a wide range of products, including baking mixes, snacks, confectionery, and superfoods, all meticulously crafted to be free from the top 14 allergens, which include gluten, dairy, and nuts and no ‘may contains’.

Our core mission at Creative Nature is to ensure that everyone can eat delicious without doubt food together whether they have allergies or not. You can find Creative Nature products on the shelves of major retailers such as Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Ocado, Coop, and we're also available in over 16 countries around the world.

We firmly believe that being 'free from' should never mean 'free from taste,' and this dedication to flavour has earned us numerous prestigious awards, including accolades from the Free From Food Awards, Great Taste, Quality Food Awards, and The Grocer New Product Awards.