Saturday, May 25, 2024
HomeInformationDecoding Sweden's Barcode Boycott Trend: Pro-Palestinian Action or Misguided Move?

Decoding Sweden’s Barcode Boycott Trend: Pro-Palestinian Action or Misguided Move?

In a Nutshell: Barcode Boycotts and Palestine Support in Sweden

Are you one to scan barcodes when shopping? Some Facebook groups in Sweden want you to start doing just that – if the barcode starts with a 729 that is.

This surprising trend is part of a wider movement of Swedish pro-Palestinian groups trying to boycott products they believe are from Israel. Interesting, right? Let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

- Advertisement -

The Barcode Boycott Explained

As it turns out, many believe the digits starting a barcode hint at a product’s country of origin. The current trend among these groups is to avoid products with barcodes starting with 729, associated with Israel. They argue this is a way to show support for Palestine and put economic pressure on Israel. As simple as that.

Well, not quite.

“Just because a barcode starts with 729 doesn’t imply the product is made in Israel.”
Staffan Olsson from GS1 Sweden.

Decoding the Barcode

The numbers in a barcode are obtained through a system called EAN-marking. This series of numbers first originated to provide all available information about the product. Sweden has been assigned numbers from 730 to 739, Denmark 570 to 579, and Israel got 729.

But, here’s the kicker: companies can request their barcodes in any country. So, products with a barcode starting with 730, assigned to Sweden, might not have anything Swedish at all about them apart from their barcode number.

See where we’re going with this?

Inaccuracy and Misconceptions

One major point highlighted by Olsson from GS1 Sweden (the non-profit organization managing these barcode licenses) is that the barcode number is only a registration flag, not a ‘Made in’ guarantee.

Now, you might have also heard the rumor in Sweden that Israel has changed its barcodes from 729 to 871 – that’s not true. Instead, 871 is actually the barcode license of the Netherlands.

However, it is possible for individual companies to change their barcode numbers, but only if they seek a license in another country. The process of getting a new barcode in the market takes about 3-4 months.

Next time you’re shopping …

So, the next time you’re urged to boycott a barcode, think twice. Boycotting a product based on its barcode may mean you’re targeting the wrong country!

In the beautiful complexity of our interconnected world, a simple series of numbers on a product might not be telling us the whole truth.

Engage with the world, stay informed, ask questions. Happy shopping, Sweden!

- Advertisement -


Most Popular