RNIB and Coca-Cola join forces to make Christmas packs accessible for blind and partially sighted people

Leading sight loss charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has joined forces with Coca-Cola Great Britain to make its packaging more accessible for people with sight loss for the first time.

This Christmas, promotional multipacks of Coca-Cola will feature cutting-edge NaviLens technology enabling blind and partially sighted shoppers to access key product information via their smartphone.

The NaviLens technology detects a unique on-pack code and plays back labelling information to shoppers, helping them to shop independently and with confidence.

RNIB research shows that 9 in 10 blind and partially sighted people find packaging difficult or impossible to read, while almost three quarters state that accessing product information on food packaging is very important to them.

RNIB has led the way in accessible products and services by campaigning and working collaboratively with many major brands and organisations. This collaboration highlights how big brands can put accessibility at the forefront of design and packaging decisions and be a real catalyst for change.

The collaboration between RNIB and Coca-Cola Great Britain follows RNIB’s 2021 ‘What’s in Store’ campaign video, which raised awareness of how it feels to be confronted with inaccessible packaging – a problem invisible to most shoppers.

As part of the experiential event, a physical store was created and stocked with products with blank or intentionally vague packaging, while hidden cameras in the shop filmed people’s reactions. A shopkeeper then revealed that this is often the reality for people with sight loss when they are out shopping.

Marc Powell, RNIB’s Accessibility Innovation Lead, said: “Everyone has the right to know what they’re buying yet packaging information is so often inaccessible to blind and partially sighted people. We hear from people who tell us they often rely on their memory for locating products or feel forced to ask for help.

“People with sight loss should have the same access and choice as our sighted counterparts, and technology such as NaviLens is a game changer, enabling greater independence.

“It’s been fantastic to team up with Coca-Cola, one of the world’s biggest brands, and see how they are championing the inclusion of accessibility as part of the conversation around how we can make the customer experience better for blind and partially sighted people.”

Laura Moon, Senior Brand Manager at Coca-Cola Great Britain, said: “As we continue to make our drinks available and accessible to everyone, we are extremely pleased to partner with RNIB to support blind and partially sighted people find out more information about Coca-Cola and the options available to them on shelf.”

NaviLens is an optical smart code that can be accessed from smartphones from the camera, like QR codes. Consumers can download the NaviLens and NaviLens GO app and then simply point the smartphone camera in the general direction of the packaging, which can be detected at a greater distance to a standard QR code. The product information contained within the code is presented and then accessed through the user’s smartphone.

RNIB can support businesses to develop more accessible products and services. There are many solutions, technologies and tools, including NaviLens, that can help to achieve this goal. More information is on the RNIB website.

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