Cereal brand Kellogg’s has announced that following a successful trial, new world-first technology will be permanently added to all of its cereal boxes to make them accessible to blind and visually impaired people.
Important information on food packaging, such as allergen details, can often be in print that’s difficult for blind or partially sighted people to read.
Using NaviLens technology, the new boxes will allow a smartphone to easily detect a unique on-pack code and playback labelling information to the shopper with sight loss.
The company will change all its cereal packaging, beginning in 2022, with the first accessible boxes of Special K appearing on shelves in January.
Kellogg’s idea of smart read technology
The idea came to life when Kellogg’s met with children from St Vincent’s in 2019, a specialist school in Liverpool for children with sensory impairments. It was the pupil’s insight that inspired the business to look for solutions.
Kellogg’s also hopes that by sharing its experience with other brands there is an opportunity to make the supermarket shelves more accessible for people with sight loss so they can shop more independently and access information from a range of packaging.
Kellogg’s successful UK trial
This announcement comes after a successful UK trial last year in partnership with Co-op, on Kellogg’s Coco Pops boxes.
Evaluation of the pilot by charity Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) showed that 97% of the participants agreed that they would like to see more of these accessibility features available on grocery packaging in the future.
How the NaviLens technology works
Unlike other types of printed codes, the new NaviLens technology includes high contrasting-colored squares on a black background. Users do not need to know exactly where the code is located to scan it.
It allows smartphones to pick up the on-pack code from up to three metres distance when a blind or visually impaired shopper points their device in the direction of the cereal box.
This then alerts the phone, and the shopper can choose to have the ingredients, allergen and recycling information read aloud to them – as well as reading it on their device using accessibility tools.
The technology is currently used across Barcelona, Madrid and Murcia city’s transport systems, making the cities easier to navigate for thousands of visually impaired citizens.