FLUSHING, Mich. (WJRT) – A Flushing native is helping the Kellogg Company change the way millions of Americans who are blind or have low vision do simple daily tasks like buying cereal.
To make packaging more accessible to those who see the world differently, Kellogg has partnered with NaviLens technology to change the world—one cereal box at a time.
Kellogg is introducing a personalized cereal shopper for the visually impaired through the NaviLens app, with the goal of creating a new way to shop for groceries for consumers like blushing native Beth Foor — a Kellogg employee who helped create the project because she lost vision.
“So I was born with what’s called Usher syndrome, which is a leading cause of deafblindness,” Foor said. “So I was born with significant hearing loss, but I was born with normal vision, and it wasn’t until I was in high school, my college years, that I started noticing the symptoms of my progressive eye disease.”
Debuting on shelves last December, Beth believes it’s a step in the right direction for shoppers like her.
“Things like navigating grocery stores and looking for products on grocery store shelves are very challenging for someone like me,” Foor said. “So we’re proud to be the first food company to actually use this technology on packaging.”
NaviLens was originally developed as a navigation tool for public spaces, and Kellogg was the first company in the world to adapt it for use on packaging.
Cereal boxes now feature a NaviLens optical smart code on the front and sides, consisting of high-contrast colored squares on a black background that can be detected and read by the NaviLens and NaviLens GO apps.
Unlike a regular QR code where you have to scan it directly – even if you are several meters away, the app picks up the NaviLens locator from certain cereals such as Rice Krispies, CrispX, Special K Original or Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and read the package information aloud.
“You actually find it on store shelves and tell them if it’s to the left or to the right and how far away it is to find it,” Foor said. “And for the visually impaired, there’s a big arrow that appears on your phone and keeps pointing and guiding you until you find it.”
With the goal of not only making it a little easier to buy cereal, but Foor says it also increases a sense of independence
“It’s extremely challenging for someone who has no vision, or someone with low vision like myself, to navigate the store isles and simply do most of the daily tasks,” he said. “And it’s a method that gives people more freedom.”