Bayer Consumer Health UK, in partnership with AIPIA member Zappar, has introduced a new Accessible QR code (AQR) on its Canescool Soothing Gel Cream product packaging to help those who are blind or partially sighted.

Canescool is reportedly the world’s first women’s intimate health brand to adopt AQR codes on its product packaging and gives the over 200,000 women who are registered as blind or partially sighted in the UK improved access to information on its product, say the companies.

Zappar will be participating in the AIPIA World Congress and are available to demonstrate the AQR, as well as other products and projects from their extensive Augmented Reality (AR) portfolio.

Mike Knowland, cluster lead for Bayer Consumer Health Northern Europe including the UK & Ireland, commented: “This digitally inclusive transformation is a major step change for us as well as the whole healthcare category. The enhanced QR code improves access to important product information for consumers during their shopping journey.”

“This is the start of our ambition to add Accessible QR codes onto more of our product packaging across the consumer health portfolio, so that we continue to meet our company vision of ‘health for all’ and empower more people to find it easier to self-care – a vital societal sustainability pillar of ours,” he added.

These innovative QR codes, created by Zappar, working closely with Bayer and in collaboration with the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People), can be detected by popular accessibility apps such as the Envision app, Microsoft SeeingAI (as of mid-October) and also Zapvision’s reference app.

AQR codes are optimised for people who are sighted, partially sighted or blind. Structured product information will be announced through text-to-speech for users who are blind or partially sighted. Users will also be directed to a dedicated landing page on the Canescool website with expanded product information and a myth-busting knowledge quiz.

Marc Powell, accessibility innovation lead at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) explained: “Improving access to self-care and health information for blind and partially sighted people is hugely important. Independence and choice is something we should all have, especially when it comes to looking after ourselves.

“More than two million people in the UK are living with sight loss and by 2050 it will double to over four million people. We’re delighted that Bayer and Zappar are collaborating and are now on a journey to ensure that packaging information is available to blind and partially sighted consumers through the use of the Zap Vision technology, and encourage other big brands to make that leap too.”

Canescool Soothing Cream Gel product is part of the Canesten brand within Bayer Consumer Health’s Women’s Intimate Health portfolio. The new pack design with AQR code is available on Amazon and in Boots stores from October 2023, with a wider distribution across other major retailers and pharmacies thereafter.

This article was created in collaboration with AIPIA (the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association). For a full update on active and intelligent packaging, come along to the AIPIA World Congress (co-organized by Packaging Europe) in Amsterdam on 14-15 November. The only smart packaging event covering the entire technology spectrum, the World Congress is a meeting place for the global active and intelligent packaging industry where brand owners, innovators, and other stakeholders can network and see and discuss the latest trends and innovations. Register to attend here.