Kellogg's Launches New, Accessible Cereal Boxes for Blind and Partially Sighted Shoppers

In a Thursday Instagram post, Kellogg Europe announced it will be switching its standard cereal boxes for ones that feature innovative, accessibility minded technology.

The rollout, which will use "NaviLens" technology, is the first of its kind and speaks to the growing demand for inclusive design across all sectors, from packaging and products to physical and architectural spaces.

According to the Instagram post, the switch will begin next year and will be permanent in the region, allowing blind and partially sighted people to shop with greater ease. Each box will feature a high-contrast "on-pack code" that will be detected via the NaviLens smartphone app.

However, as the company explained in a press release, "users do not need to know exactly where the code is located to scan it." Rather, the app will simply be able to spot the code from up to three meters away.

Once detected, the shopper can have information about the product read aloud, including ingredients, possible allergens, and recycling information. Alternatively, the consumer can read that information on their phone, using accessibility features. Special K will be the first of the brand's cereals to feature the new packages, with the others following close behind.

"Over 30 million people across Europe live with sight loss and are unable to simply read the information on our cereal boxes," said Aura Botorog, European VP Kellogg Brands. "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."

The rollout follows a successful trial period, launched last fall in honor of World Sight Day. During the trial, nearly 60 locations of the UK-based grocery chain co-op featured Coco Pops boxes equipped with NaviLens technology.

As noted by NaviLens CEO Javier Pita, "The incorporation of the NaviLens codes onto food packaging is a positive step towards a more inclusive and accessible shopping experience for the visually impaired. This allows people with sight loss to shop more independently and make their own food choices."

The technology, which is also implemented in public transportation systems across Madrid, Barcelona, and Murcia, Spain, signals the ever-present need for inclusive and accessible design in our built environment—a need that companies are slowly picking up on.

In June, for example, Packaging World reported that multinational giant Procter & Gamble is introducing new packaging to their Herbal Essences line—in the form of tactile notches on the bottles—in order to help people with low vision distinguish between shampoo and conditioner.

Meanwhile, in April, Unilever released a trial of a new, inclusive deodorant specifically designed for consumers with a range of disabilities, including vision loss and upper-limb impairment. According to Packaging Digest, the deodorant, known as Degree Inclusive, has a "a hooked design for one-hand use," "magnetic closures," and braille instructions, among other features.

The announcement by Kellogg's comes just days after the company made headlines for its limited-edition, Pride-themed cereal. The campaign, launched in collaboration with GLAAD, led to the anti-LGBTQ American Family Association to call for a boycott of the company.

Bowl of Cereal
Kellogg's recently announced it will use "NaviLens" technology on its cereal boxes, allowing blind and partially-sighted people to shop with greater ease. A breakfast table setting including a bowl of cereal, coffee, and milk. Tom Kelley/Getty Images