Kellanova’s recent announcement to integrate NaviLens technology into Pringles cans, enhancing accessibility for the visually impaired gives a glimpse into an interesting intersection between technology, inclusive thinking, and branding. This initiative, building on the success of a similar approach with Kellogg’s cereal boxes, might represent a noteworthy leap towards customer centricity in packaging design, maybe even beyond the initially focused beneficiaries.
Kellanova, the company behind Pringles and Kellogg’s, rolled out NaviLens on selected Pringles varieties in the UK starting 1st November 2023, with the plan of a full-scale implementation by the end of 2024. This follows the successful incorporation of NaviLens technology in over 750 million Kellogg’s cereal boxes since 2022. The move is a testament to Kellanova’s commitment to creating packaging that is not only functional but also accessible to all consumers, including those with sensory impairments.
Kelloggs was the first food company in the world to use NaviLens on packaging. Other brands such as Coca Cola or Ariel from P&G are also already using the technology.
The NaviLens Technology
At the heart of this initiative is the NaviLens code, a groundbreaking technology that enables smartphones to detect on-pack codes from up to three meters away. This feature allows shoppers to access critical product information such as ingredients, allergens, and recycling information through audible playback or on-screen text, using accessibility tools on their devices. The implementation of the technology on Kellogg’s and now pringles packaging was inspired by insights from pupils at St Vincent’s, a specialist school for children with sensory impairment, underscoring the importance of consumer-driven innovation.
The inventor of the technology is the Spain based company NaviLens with its goal to transform everyday experiences for the visually impaired. The technology has already been implemented in public transportation systems in cities like Barcelona and New York, enhancing accessibility for passengers and was later picked up for the use on packaging.
Enhancing Consumer Independence
The integration of NaviLens into packaging significantly empowers blind and partially sighted individuals, enabling them to shop independently and make informed choices. As Marc Powell from RNIB (The Royal National Institute of Blind People) points out, this technology levels the playing field, offering the same freedom and choice to visually impaired consumers as it does to sighted ones.
Beyond Accessibility: The Broader Implications
NaviLens technology, while primarily designed for the visually impaired, has potentially broader applications. It represents a new frontier in product information dissemination, where audio can serve as an efficient and user-friendly medium. This is particularly relevant in a fast-paced world where consumers seek quick and easy access to product details.
Brand Perception and Market Impact
Kellanova’s initiative places it at the forefront of inclusive design in the food industry. By adopting NaviLens, the company not only enhances its product accessibility but also positions itself as an innovative and socially responsible brand. This move is likely to resonate positively with a broad spectrum of consumers, reinforcing Kellanova’s commitment to “creating a place at the table for everyone,” as stated by their design director, Pete Matthews.
The integration of NaviLens technology into Pringles packaging by Kellanova is a commendable step towards inclusive, customer focussed design. It transcends the traditional role of packaging, evolving into a tool for enhanced accessibility and consumer engagement. While primarily benefiting the visually impaired, this technology might have the potential to enhance how all consumers interact with product information. Such innovations not only bolster the brand image but also pave the way for a more inclusive and information-rich consumer landscape in the packaging industry.