Persil introduces QR codes on packaging to improve accessibility for visually impaired

UK – German brand of laundry detergent, Persil is adding Accessible QR codes (AQR), developed with Zappar and in collaboration with RNIB, to a range of packs to improve accessibility.

Persil’s capsules in plastic-free packaging and its Ultimate Liquids range will now feature a new enhanced Accessible QR (AQR) code on their packaging.

The aim is to create a more inclusive experience in-store and at home for the UK’s 2 million blind and partially sighted people.

Once accessed via smartphone, the code provides product, usage, safety and recycling information in a structured way that has been designed with blind and partially sighted users in mind.

The AQR also interacts with the device’s configured accessibility features to display information in the larger text or in audio-described and voice-guided formats.

The technology that makes the AQRs more detectable works by adding additional markings to existing QR codes.

Caspar Thykier, Zappar CEO and co-founder said: “Although QR codes have been in mainstream use almost 30 years now, they have lacked the important ingredient of accessibility.

“This is really about helping make a small but important everyday quality-of-life improvement in people’s lives.”

According to Unilever, the technology will soon be integrated with Microsoft Seeing AI. The FMCG giant hopes to work with other accessibility apps to support a global rollout of the tech.

“We’re really proud to be launching these new enhanced QR codes on Persil packs before it is shared across other Unilever brands later this year,” said Nadine Slyper, laundry marketing director at Unilever.

“For us, this is bigger than Unilever. We see this as a first step in helping make packaging more accessible for everyone.

“We’re pleased to be exploring accessible QR codes as a business and hope to see other companies and accessibility apps join in this conversation.”

The move comes after cereal giant Kellogg’s started rolling out accessible codes across its packaging in January 2022.

In addition to improving accessibility, Persil is making concerted efforts to improve its sustainability credentials, having recently repackaged its laundry capsules in cardboard boxes – a move which it claims will save over 1,000 tonnes of plastic annually.

It has also this month expanded its Ultimate Liquids range with two new variants, Active Clean and Touch of Comfort.

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