A step forward in accessible packaging coming to Europe from the UK

At the start of last year, EBU’s UK member, RNIB, began working with Kellogg’s on a project to find a solution for making packaging more accessible – but what started out as a small trial and an awareness raising exercise, has since grown into a world-leading project.

The relationship began when Kellogg’s wanted to create a special edition Coco Pops box to mark World Sight Day in 2020. Knowing that nine in 10 blind and partially sighted people find it difficult or impossible to read packaging information, their aim was to increase the understanding of sight loss and use the accessible edition as a trial to show what could be achieved in this space.

The original trial, which took place in over 50 UK stores, featured new Coco Pops boxes which not only had braille, larger print and simplified artwork, but also featured a world-first technology that allows smartphones to detect and playback labelling and allergen information to the user.

The new technology, NaviLens, is similar to a QR code, but can be detected in a fraction of the time from up to three metres away. Also, as the technology was originally created to provide navigational assistance, it means that it can help the shopper to find a product, as well as giving them packaging information.

The trial was an overwhelming success, with 97 per cent of participants agreeing they would like to see more of these accessibility features available on grocery packaging. After analysing feedback, Kellogg’s and RNIB quickly recognised that the ability to access pack information digitally, using NaviLens, catered for the needs of everyone with sight loss, rather than just those with specific requirements (such as braille users). This led to Kellogg’s announcing in July 2021 that from early next year, it will be adding NaviLens codes to their entire range of cereal products across the whole of Europe.

Pete Matthews, Director of Brand Design & Operations at Kellogg's, said: “At Kellogg’s, we share RNIB’s passion for inclusive design and we are committed to making our packaging more accessible. That’s why we are now proud to announce that from early 2022, our entire European portfolio of cereal products will feature NaviLens codes. We’ve been incredibly proud to go on this journey with our friends at RNIB to find a solution to make packaging accessible for everyone and hope that it inspires other brand owners to join this movement.”

Marc Powell, Strategic Accessibility Lead at RNIB, said: “This announcement from Kellogg’s is a real game changer within the packaging world. It marks a significant step-change in how big brands can put accessibility at the forefront of design and packaging decisions and be a catalyst for change. Important information on packaging can often be in very small print, making it difficult or impossible for people with sight loss to read. Changes like this can provide blind and partially sighted people with vital information for the very first time, giving us the same freedom, independence and choice as sighted customers. Designing packaging so that it works for everyone makes complete sense and we hope that other brands will follow Kellogg’s lead in making packaging information more accessible.”

A video is available for further explanations.

The links to download the app are:

Apple: NaviLens - NaviLens GO

Google: NaviLens - NaviLens GO