Campaign to improve packaging for shoppers with sight loss

20-08-2021

A new campaign by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) will illustrate the impact of inaccessible packaging that 9 out of 10 blind or partially sighted people experience regularly.

The charity wants to break down societal barriers for people with sight loss and hope that the campaign will encourage more businesses to rethink their packaging and services to ensure they are accessible for all.

As part of the Design for Everyone campaign, RNIB is launching an experimental pop-up corner shop to give people an insight into how it feels to be confronted with inaccessible packaging. The store will be stocked with products with blank or intentionally vague packaging.

There will be hidden cameras in the shop to capture people's reactions, and the shopkeeper will reveal that this is often the reality for people with sight loss when they are out shopping or want to buy food on the go.

Samantha, 32-years-old lives in Essex and was diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy six years ago. She often struggled to find accessible nutritional information, which puts her health at risk. "Keeping my sugars under control is crucial in preventing my eye condition from getting worse. Not being able to access the nutritional information I need as a type 1 diabetic can be very serious," said Samantha.

For those with allergies or medical conditions like Diabetes or Coeliac disease, it's essential for the shopper to know what a food product contains, but gaining that information when you have sight loss is not easy. This issue needs to be taken more seriously across businesses and society to improve the shopping experience for the blind community and ensure their physical and mental well-being.

"I will sometimes ask staff to find the information I need, but this makes me feel very anxious as I can't check if it's correct. Accessible packaging would mean the freedom to choose what I want to eat and give me back another part of my independence," added Samantha.

RNIB are happy to support businesses to develop more accessible products and services and have already set a great example with a successful trial with Kellogg's. The well-known cereal brand recently announced that new world-first technology will be permanently added to all its packaging 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, using NaviLens technology and playback labelling information to shoppers.

Matt Stringer, RNIB's CEO, said: "Everyone has the right to know what they're buying, yet packaging information is so often inaccessible for blind and partially sighted people. RNIB is campaigning for products and services to be reimagined with accessibility in mind because when products are designed for anyone, the result is better for everyone."

The store will be open to the public at 91 Hammersmith Grove, London W6 0NQ between 10 AM - 4 PM from 19th August until 23rd August.

For more information visit RNIB.