Zapvision, the new Accessible QR solution for people who are blind and partially sighted, created by digital agency and longstanding AIPIA member Zappar, has partnered with Unilever so that it is now available on packs of Persil laundry detergent products across the UK.

The technology was first showcased in mid-2022 but this is the first major application of the solution.

The new, enhanced ‘Accessible QR’ codes, support more inclusive packaging by making access to information on products available to everyone whatever their visual acuity. The codes are now being incorporated for the first time on Persil’s new plastic-free capsules and Ultimate Liquids ranges and will be added to other Unilever products in the UK and around the world later this year, it says.

The new codes, which were created in partnership with Unilever and the Royal National Institute of Blind People, can be detected from more than a metre away by the app. Shoppers will then be provided with the relevant usage instructions, safety warnings and recycling information, again through the app, via larger text or audio.

“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,” she explained.

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

Peter ter Kulve, president of home care at Unilever added, “Ensuring our Unilever products are accessible to everyone in society is not just an important element of our equity, diversity & inclusion commitments – it makes good commercial sense too. With nearly two million people in the UK living with sight loss, we’ve now made one of our most loved UK Home Care brands, Persil, fully accessible to them for the first time – courtesy of the Accessible QR code!”

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.