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Bread, jam and barcodes

Date: October 29, 2019

Category: Industry news


At the two-day event held at the prestigious Institute of Directors on Pall Mall, we had some insightful conversations with innovative, new food brands.

Now in its fourth year, the Bread & Jam Festival, aimed at accelerating the growth of food and drink SMEs, included a new “speed dating” event that allowed food and drink entrepreneurs to pitch ideas to investors, with the possibility of securing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Bread & Jam

The festival also featured pitching and meet-the-buyer opportunities for SMEs to present their products to buyers from key retailers, including Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Selfridges, Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, Fenwick and others.

This year’s Bread & Jam was our biggest and most successful Festival yet and with the support of GS1 UK we were able to schedule a record number of ‘meet the buyer’ sessions in our Pitching Zone. These meetings have already returned into tangible benefits for our delegates, with one company launching into Selfridges next week, less that a month after meeting them at the Bread & Jam festival!"

Jason Gibb, Founder, Bread & Jam

As one of the event sponsors, we were on hand to talk about the benefits of GS1 UK membership, and the importance of getting your product identification and barcoding right from the get-go.

Bread & Jam

Through these conversations, we fielded some common questions which we have summarised below, and hope they will be valuable to similar foodie brands who find themselves in the same shoes.

Doesn’t my designer or packaging company supply my barcodes?

There was some confusion when speaking to various start-ups about barcodes being provided by the companies they are working with to design or produce their packaging. This is not the case.

As the brand owner, you are required to supply Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) for your products. Depending on the service you use, they will create the barcode from the GTIN you supply and add it to your packaging.

What is a GTIN?

A GTIN is the identification key that your product needs in order for it to be accepted and sold by a retailer. It’s the numerical representation of a barcode and sits beneath it on your packaging. It is sometimes referred to as an EAN, UPC or barcode number.

How do I create a barcode for my products?

Through your GS1 UK membership, you can use My Numberbank to manage your GTINs and barcode numbers. When you assign a GTIN to your product using My Numberbank, you’ll are able to create and download the barcode image.

There are also alternative providers of barcode software, and we have accredited partners that offer barcode generation services.

Can I use the same barcode for the outer cases or boxes for my products?

Unfortunately, you can’t. The GTIN you use on your product is for that item only. For outer packaging, boxes or cases you will need to use a new GTIN or GTIN-14.

Click here for more info about creating barcodes for your cases.

Can I change the colour, size and shape of the barcode on my product?

We recommend that you don’t play around with the colour, size and shape of your barcode because it may cause issues when it comes to scanning.

This could also cause a delay in getting your product to market. When creating your barcode at design stage, we recommend you check out our “Barcoding getting it right” guide.

How do I make sure my GTINs are registered to my brand and are legitimate?

Only GTINs from GS1 will be licenced to your business. If you have obtained GTINs from elsewhere, you can use our free service below to check.

Just type in the GTIN and you’ll see the name of the company the GTIN is actually licenced to and their contact details.

If you don’t like what you see, get in touch and we can guide you through the next steps.

Check your numbers now

What else did we get up to at the festival?

Our head of SME, Raj Burman, also chaired an interactive session featuring Cecily Mills of Coconuts Organic, Sophie Watts from the Squirrel Sisters and MOJU drinks founder, Rich Goldsmith, on how to secure seed funding for your food start-up brand.

Bread & Jam

It was a packed, interactive and insightful session which was full of useful information. Here’s a list of pointers from the panel when it comes to seed funding advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for funding when starting out.
  2. Seed funders will take twice as long as you think – make sure you factor this in.
  3. Not all debt finance is through online applications. Real life conversations with potential investors is invaluable.
  4. Mentoring is key to the growth, and chemistry with your investor is critical.
  5. Trust your gut with the investor – it is your dream that you are building.
  6. Be wary of “value-add” investors – they need to be in it to be really adding value.

Seedrs, our crowd-funding community partner, were also in attendance at the festival. They are one of the leading equity crowd-funding platforms – find out more about our partnership and learn about opportunities for GS1 UK members to use their services here.

Innovative challenger brands in the food and drink sector are expanding globally at a rapid pace. In partnership with Bread & Jam, we recognise that start up and scale up businesses require continuous support to grow and prosper.

“With our network connections, we provide guidance to organisations to enable investment for owners, to succeed in meeting on-going development and production commitments.”

Raj Burman, Head of SME, GS1 UK

Overall it was fantastic to see so many innovate foodie start-ups who are finding their way to success. Next year’s Bread & Jam Festival will be taking place on Thursday 1 and Friday 2 October, and tickets are available here.

Make sure to follow the festival on all of their social channels (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter). And if you are a budding foodie brand starting out looking for support and advice it’s also worth joining Bread & Jam’s parent company The Food Hub’s group on Facebook.