Kellogg’s launches Coco Pops boxes that are featured with technology to help the visually impaired

Image courtesy: FoodBev Media

USA – Kellogg’s has launched a trial of Coco Pops boxes that feature technology designed to detect and playback the cereal’s ingredients list and any allergen warnings in the supermarket for people with sight loss.

Designed in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the packaging features a large, printed code that customers can scan using their smartphone.

Once their phone has picked up the code, shoppers can choose to have ingredients, allergen and recycling information played to them, or to read the labels on their device using accessibility tools.

The boxes, which will be trialled at branches of Co-Op, were developed following RNIB research that showed nine in 10 blind and partially sighted people found information on food packaging difficult or impossible to read.

“This can make shopping a real challenge, especially for those with specific dietary requirements, as they can’t see the all-important nutritional information,”

Marc Powell -strategic accessibility lead, RNIB

The limited-edition boxes are also embossed with braille, while the on-pack information is in a larger font size.

Unlike other types of printed codes, this one, named NaviLens, comprises high-contrasting coloured squares on a black background.

Users do not need to know precisely where the code is located in order to scan it – they can sweep their environment with their phone to find and centre the tag in their device’s field of view, and a shake of the wrist prompts the relevant details to be read out.

Marc Powell, strategic accessibility lead at the RNIB, praised Kellogg’s for “raising the bar in inclusive and accessible packaging design”, adding that the new boxes would enable people with no or low vision to independently access all the information they needed about a product on the shelf for the first time. 

“Important information on packaging can often be in very small print, making it difficult for blind and partially sighted people to read. This can make shopping a real challenge, especially for those with specific dietary requirements, as they can’t see the all-important nutritional information,” he said.

NaviLens is currently used across transport systems in Barcelona and Madrid, making the cities easier to navigate for people with visual impairments, but this is the first time the technology has been applied to food packaging.

The trial will take place in almost 60 Co-op stores across the UK in light of World Sight Day. If the Coco Pops pilot proves popular, Kellogg’s said it would consider redesigning more of its cereal boxes in this way.

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