In recent years, retailers have made great headway to make their stores more inclusive for shoppers. For example, Tesco has introduced the option to enlarge text on self-service checkouts, and has worked with AccessAble to create detailed access guides for its stores to help shoppers plan their in-store journey before they leave their house.

However, there is still more the food industry can do to help shoppers get the most out of their in-store experience. World Sight Day took place just last week – on 12 October – marking an opportunity for brands, retailers and industry bodies to work together to make the experience as smooth as possible.

Currently, nearly two million people in the UK are living with some form of sight loss, and figures from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) show this is projected to double by 2050. For those affected, doing regular tasks like the weekly food shop or cooking up a meal can be extremely challenging. In fact, 95% of blind and partially sighted people find food packaging difficult or impossible to navigate due to the small print, making shopping and preparation a real challenge, especially for those with specific dietary requirements.


As an industry, it’s important for us all to come together and help give control and independence back to consumers living with sight loss, both in stores and in their kitchens, to help make a difference to a disability that’s affecting more and more people.

Innovation is at the heart of this step-change. Brands like us at Aunt Bessie’s, alongside P&G and Kellogg’s, have been working with technology company NaviLens to make products easier for shoppers to navigate, both in the aisle and when they are preparing the product at home. Shoppers can use the NaviLens smartphone app to scan printed codes on packaging, and unlock details including the location of a product, preparation instructions, and ingredient details through enhanced visuals or spoken word.

Currently, nearly 50% of Aunt Bessie’s sales feature a NaviLens code, and our ambition is to scale our use of the technology even further in the coming years to implement it on more Birds Eye brands.

Brands have a responsibility to implement positive changes to make retail more accessible for all, and innovative technologies can help drive this.