Announcing Support for EAN-8 Barcodes

Go-UPC is pleased to announce first-class support for EAN-8 barcodes, an improvement that applies to both our API and Bulk Lookup services. This supplements our longstanding support for EAN-13 and UPC, the most common barcode formats found on retail products.

EAN-8 numbers are commonly used for packaging on small items, where space is limited. They're particularly common in the food and beverage industries on things like candy, soda, and even tobacco products. Visit your local grocer or convenience store — you can probably turn up dozens of these little barcodes, now that you know where to look.

What is EAN-8?

EAN stands for “European Article Number” and is a barcode standard that was developed in the late 1970s, a few short years after UPC was developed for use in North America. Although originally used exclusively in Europe, EAN is now deployed globally and so has come to be known as the International Article Number (though interestingly, it still retains its original acronym, with the E).

EAN-8 is a subset of the broader EAN standard that was developed for products with small packages. “Regular” EAN barcodes — also known as EAN-13 — are sometimes too large to fit on a tiny package, like a pack of gum for example, so EAN-8 provides a coding system to deal with those cases.

An EAN-8 barcode has two groups of four digits. Here's an example visual:

[Example EAN-8 Barcode]

It's also worth noting EAN-8 is sometimes referred to as GTIN-8, although that acronym may apply more to the numbering system than the barcode symbology. GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number, a standard which has subsumed a number of previously independent numbering systems, including EAN, UPC, and ISBN (book numbers).

More to Come

Although much less common than UPCs and 13-digit EAN barcodes, EAN-8 is a valuable part of a complete barcode solution, so we're excited to incorporate it. Our effort to index products sporting this shorter, more-compact barcode format is still in progress, but you can already find many items in our database.

Go-UPC continues to work hard to create the most complete barcode-lookup solution and product database in the world. Please look forward to more helpful features in the coming months, including support for additional barcode formats like ASIN and GTIN-14, inferring products from incomplete UPCs, and keyword search (searching on product name, model number, etc), to name a handful.