Shoppers will soon be able to scan QR codes on products from afar to get information on products such as ingredients and allergies without even stepping into a supermarket aisle.
Frozen-food producer Aunt Bessie announced it will introduce special QR codes on some food packaging, which will audio-direct shoppers to the right product when scanned through a smartphone app, aiming the launch at blind and visually impaired people who struggle to navigate supermarkets.
The technology, called NaviLens, creates QR codes that are different from traditional ones because they don’t need to be scanned at close proximity to work, said Aunt Bessie. Users can detect the codes using their smartphone’s camera when pointed in the general direction of the products.
Initially, the codes will be available on the Glorious Golden Yorkshires and Roast Potatoes, with plans to roll them out to more product lines.
“Currently, important information on packaging can often be in very small print, making it difficult or impossible for people with sight loss to read,” said Marc Powell, Accessibility Innovation Lead at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
“Blind and partially sighted people should have the same freedom, independence, and choice as sighted customers,” added Powell.
The launch comes as research from RNIB showed that only one in eight people with sight loss can shop independently, compared to almost half of non-visually impaired people.
There are more than million people living with sight loss in the UK, with 340,000 registered as blind or partially sighted, according to the RNIB.
The research further showed that half of respondents currently have to ask someone to read the product information to them, with two-thirds admitting to buying the wrong product in store because they had mistaken the packaging for something else.