More than three quarters of people with visual impairment feel brands should be forced by law to make their products more accessible, new research has revealed.
To highlight the need for more accessible information on packaging, digital printing solutions provider Roland DG commissioned a study of 500 UK adults with visual impairment, with 81% believing brands should be bound by legislation to ensure key product information on packaging is accessible for all.
The findings, released to coincide with World Braille Day (January 4), also shine an alarming light on the implications of a broken system that doesn’t currently account for people with visual impairment. An astonishing 74% of individuals have picked up the wrong product when shopping, due to poor packaging guidance. These types of mistakes have led to many feeling general disappointment (51%), wasting their money (39%), picking up something they can’t eat due to dietary requirements (31%) and picking up something they are allergic to (23%).
A campaign has now been launched to lobby government and key-decision makers for much needed change. Lucy Edwards, a social content creator, disability activist, presenter and journalist who has been recruited as campaign ambassador, said: “Imagine a world where every bottle, every box, every tin feels exactly the same. Every day I wake up to a sighted world that isn’t made for me. 10 years ago, I lost my eyesight forever and my independence was gone. In my world, granola could be dog food, baked beans could be tinned pears and jam could be mint sauce.”
She added: “I imagine a world where I wake up and it’s not this way anymore. When the world becomes tactile, it finally comes alive for me. I am so pleased to be working with Roland DG to raise awareness of this important issue. We must do more to help those with a visual impairment to live an independent and healthy lifestyle. I may not have any allergies but for some with severe allergies, having access to vital information on food packaging could be a matter of life or death.”
The impact of poor accessible packaging has led to 26% of people with visual impairment not visiting a supermarket recently (under a month ago). In fact, 31% stated that there isn’t assistance such as Braille or QR codes on packaging, which makes them concerned they will not have access to key information on ingredients and allergens. While 23% find the experience too stressful when shopping in-store.
As consumers demand more information about the ingredients of everyday products, it’s particularly important that this information is displayed in a multitude of ways to ensure everyone can access the details they need.
Stephen Davis, UK President at Roland DG EMEA, said: “We can see some brands are working hard to make their packaging more accessible, but many don’t go far enough to make product information accessible to those with visual impairment. We, at Roland, are asking brands to investigate ways to fit more accessible information onto all packaging, using a variety of methods from Braille to special QR codes. Ultimately everyone has the right to understand what they are buying, and accessible packaging for all is key.”