Kellogg’s is to permanently add technology to its cereal boxes to make them accessible to blind and partially sighted people.
The new boxes will allow a smartphone to easily detect a unique on-pack code and play back labelling information to shoppers with sight loss.
The information will include allergen details, that can often be in print that is difficult for people with sight difficulties to read.
The new technology, called NaviLens, includes high contrasting coloured squares on a black background.
Users do not need to know exactly where the code is located to scan it.
It allows smartphones using the free NaviLens app to pick up the on-pack code from up to three metres distance.
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 transport systems in the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Madrid and Murcia to help visually impaired citizens better navigate their way around.
The first accessible boxes of Special K will arrive on shelves in January, with all the firm’s cereal packaging to follow.
The idea followed Kellogg’s meeting with children from St Vincent’s, a specialist school in Liverpool for children with sensory impairment, in 2019, with the firm crediting the pupils for raising the issue.
Kellogg’s said it hoped other brands might also work towards making supermarkets more accessible for those with sight loss.
It follows a successful UK trial last year in partnership with Co-op on Kellogg’s Coco Pops boxes.
An evaluation of the pilot by charity Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) found that 97% of participants agreed that they would like to see more of these accessibility features available on grocery packaging in the future.
Chris Silcock, head of Kellogg’s UK, said: “Over two million people in the UK live with sight loss and are unable to simply read the information on our cereal boxes.
“As a company focused on equity, diversity and inclusion we believe that everyone should be able to access important and useful information about the food that we sell.
“That’s why, starting next year, we are adding new technology to all of our cereal boxes.
“I am proud that Kellogg’s will be the first company in the world to use NaviLens on packaging.
“We know it’s important that all packaging is accessible for the blind community to enable them to make shopping easier, so we will share our experience with other brands who want to learn more.”
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.”