Skip to content
humanization, intelligence and convenience… China’s packaged food market for visually impaired people is still a new blue ocean to be explored.
In modern society, vision plays a vital role in all aspects of life and every stage of life. It is not only the most important sensory organ, but also an integral part of interpersonal communication and social interaction.
But not everyone has this ability. According to the 2018 mobile information behavior insight report of visually impaired Internet users, there are about 45 million blind people in the world, while there are 12.63 million visually impaired people and more than 13 million visually impaired people in China; With the serious aging, this group has a trend of further expansion.
The difficulties that visually impaired people encounter in life are unimaginable. In order to ensure that they enjoy equal rights, countries have issued relevant policies and regulations. In April 2008, the law on the protection of persons with disabilities, which was reviewed and revised at the second session of the Eleventh National People’s Congress, made it clear that the society should be responsible for publishing Braille books and providing information exchange services for the blind. In order to facilitate the travel of the blind, the regulations on the construction of barrier free environment formulated in 2012 specially added provisions allowing guide dogs to enter public places. In 2015, the British Guide Dog Association also asked bus companies to install audio-visual systems on buses to facilitate the blind to get on and off. Blind roads, barrier free passages and toilets are everywhere around us. We can see the special care of the society for visually impaired people.
Among all the services for the blind, braille is the most influential. This text developed based on contact perception opens the door for the blind to perceive the world through the cooperative compensation between the five senses. Nowadays, there are a variety of Braille printed materials and Braille packaging everywhere. With the increasing emphasis on segmentation and humanized design in product innovation, the various consumer needs of the blind have become a blue ocean market that needs to be paid attention to and satisfied. The packaging that can make the blind read, perceive and use barrier free has become a ship sailing to this blue ocean.
How was Braille born? What is the application status of Braille packaging? In the intelligent age, what wonderful solutions are there for friendly packaging for all visually impaired people?
Nearly 200 years after the birth of , Braille packaging has quietly penetrated into public life
The prototype of Braille was born in the early 19th century. French army officer Charlie Barbier created the “night text”, which is composed of two rows and six vertical points in each row. It is mainly used to contact or transmit orders during night operations. It is not popularized because of its lack of regularity.
Braille in circulation today (also known as Braille) ）The Braille system with simple bumps instead of Latin letters was created in 1824 by the blind French Louis Blair on the basis of night writing. The new Braille system is simple in structure, easy to touch, read and write, and is quite friendly to the blind. Nevertheless, it is extremely difficult for the new characters to be recognized and popularized by the society. It was not until 1844 that the public accepted and approved Blair’s Braille system for the first time. In 1854, two years after Blair’s death, Blair’s Braille was recognized by France. In 1887, it was finally recognized internationally and became the official language for the blind all over the world.
Compared with other special facilities / services for the blind, Braille packaging allows this large group to integrate into contemporary social life faster.
Body cleaning and care are essential in daily life, and enterprises have also explored this pain point: almost all products of o’shudan, from scrub to hand cream, have Braille labels; P & G’s Olay Olay also launched products with Braille. Lego, a building block brand carrying children’s dreams, also launched Braille building blocks for visually impaired children to help visually impaired children learn Braille in an interesting way; A solid building block called code jumper designed by Microsoft and developed by APH can replace visual communication with touch through the design of different shapes, and can also help children with visual impairment learn programming more smoothly.
In the field of medicine, Braille packaging has received more attention. Nowadays, pharmacies are full of all kinds of medicines, and accidents of blind people eating drugs by mistake occur from time to time. Medicine is not only a good cure for the blind, but also a potential danger. In view of this, countries all over the world have made mandatory provisions on the Braille marking of drug packaging to facilitate the blind to buy drugs and use drugs safely, which also reflects the country’s humanistic care and civilization.
The national standard “packaging – Braille on drug packaging” implemented in 2019 makes strict provisions on the text position, spacing and point height of Braille, so that the visually impaired can more easily identify the relevant information on drug packaging. The EU passed regulations in 2004 to clearly specify the specific labeling methods of drug labels and instructions for the blind and visually impaired, and revised relevant guidelines in 2009 to ensure the effective implementation of various regulations. The United States also promulgated relevant laws and issued work guidelines in 2012 to ensure the drug safety of visually impaired people.
Photo source: shrimp shopping
All forms of life are inseparable from clothing, food, housing and transportation, and “food” is the most frequent part of consumption. At present, the application of Braille packaging in food and beverage industry is uneven.
In 2015, South Korea proposed a draft amendment to the food hygiene law, hoping to forcibly mark the Braille and sound conversion code of product detailed information on food containers or packages, The Korean food and Drug Administration (KFDA) is required to build a database and information system for Braille and coding for sound conversion, so that people with visual impairment can safely buy and ingest food through sound converter or app on smart phone. Japan’s industrial standard (JIS) “JIS s 0021 friendly design guide for the elderly and the disabled – packaging and containers” issued by Japan in 2000 Relevant provisions are also made for the Braille display of beer cans and alcoholic beverage cans and the identification of shampoo / mouthwash.
In contrast, in China, food packaging related standards mainly regulate the accuracy and integrity of label content, as well as the performance and safety of packaging materials, but have not taken into account the reading needs of visually impaired people. Packaged foods designed for visually impaired people are also rare in the market.
In 2011, the Arctic Ocean launched a new package of soda with Braille, with “Arctic Ocean” on one side and “Beware of scratches if damaged” on the other. These Braille can not only help blind people identify drinks, but also remind them to pay attention to safety.
In 2019, six students of Southwest University jointly developed a “light enjoyment · blind biscuit” with braille printing system and voice broadcasting system. The Braille engraving system is embodied in the outer package printed with the product name, production date and other necessary information. The Braille representing the taste of biscuits is also printed on each biscuit with a mold. In addition, considering the Limited packaging area, the team also installed an audio device. When the cookie box cover is opened, the audio can automatically broadcast the shelf life, taste and other information of food, and help the blind choose their favorite cookies through touch and hearing.
Although the design and development of visually impaired friendly packaging has not yet become the consensus of enterprises, the dietary needs of tens of millions of visually impaired people are increasingly converging into huge business opportunities. A number of enterprises that have the courage to taste fresh food are constantly researching and innovating in this field and offering good works to the society with various wise and loving methods.
from beer cans to coffee bottles, see how Braille dances on the package
Applying Braille to food packaging, Japan can be regarded as a model country.
In order to facilitate the visually impaired to distinguish the specific categories of products (wine or beverage), in Japan, the Braille of “wine” will be printed on the lid of canned beer or other wines. Some beer bottles are also printed with the identifier of alcohol degree. Baojiu was the first enterprise to apply this technology.
As a well-known wine enterprise in Japan, Baojiu began to mark the word “wine” in Braille on the tank cover of low alcohol wine “Takara can Chu Hi” in June 1995. This is the first enterprise in Japan to introduce Braille logo liquor. In 2002, the technology was also used in the bottle cap part of wine paper packaging products.
Photo source: baojiuzao official website
The power of example is always infinite. Asahi group, another giant enterprise, began to engrave Braille on the top of cans in April 1996. Since January 2001, the words “beer” (びるるるるるるるるるるるるるおさけけけさけさけるるるぷるるぷるるるる124.
Source: Asahi Group official website
In 2015, Coca Cola also launched a Coca Cola Braille in Mexico based on the concept of “sharing coke” 。 Different from the Braille only used for distinguishing on the wine can, this design not only pays tribute to Blair’s Braille method, but also enables the blind to touch their common names, pays more attention to the mood of the blind when reading, and allows more visually impaired people to experience the surprise brought by the “Braille can be happy can”.
In addition, Braille food packaging has also extended to coffee, tea and other fields with the breadth of daily life. For example, a cold extract coffee outer package with the name “only for your eyes” operated by the Spanish supplier studio won the Gold Award in the 2021 pentawards packaging design competition. The package is of minimalist design, with only one Braille meaning “this cold brew coffee is only for you enjoy it”.
Aromica tea, an Indian tea brand focusing on green tea, also launched innovative Braille tea packaging. At present, there are Assam orthodox, Assam green tea and Masala Tea Based on Assam CTC. Among them, the Braille relief printing on the package has been greatly helped by a local non-governmental organization called “care u 365”, which has been committed to carrying out various welfare activities for the visually impaired.
Ranjit Baruah, director of aromica tea, said: “Braille friendly products address the needs of special groups in society, give them dignity and give them equal rights to choose. This initiative is to strive to provide equality.”
one thing in mind: clever design makes the world in touch more wonderful
There is no perfect thing in the world. Braille packaging also faces many restrictions and scruples.
The first is the limitation of using materials. The pressing of Braille makes it limited by materials with strong plasticity; Secondly, because it is pressed on the packaging body, inevitable factors such as friction and impact during transportation will inevitably affect the legibility of Braille, and not all visually impaired people can understand Braille.
Therefore, some methods that can be distinguished by simple touch were born. For example, Meiji dairy of Japan will leave a fan-shaped gap on the upper part of the opposite side of the opening of the packaging box of pure milk. On the one hand, visually impaired people can judge the category of milk by touching.
Mimica touch, a British start-up company, made a temperature sensitive label with gelatin in 2018. When the label feels smooth, it means that the food is fresh. If it is expired and unfit for consumption, it will become uneven. For visually impaired people, they can judge the food state only by touching it gently.
In March 2018, Danish dairy giant Arla cooperated with Mimica to launch bottled milk using this technology. The product not only brings significant benefits to the visually impaired, but also undoubtedly provides a better solution for dairy waste. According to wrap, a recycling agency, the use of Mimica touch label can accurately indicate the freshness of products, and the shelf life of dairy products will be extended by three days. Arla plans to conduct a consumer test in the UK later this year to assess the market’s response to the commercial promotion of new supermarket labels.
Starting from reality, finding and solving the pain points encountered by visually impaired people in life seems to be the only way for blind people to innovate food packaging. How to make them feel the same degree of happiness and convenience as US needs to think from their position and perspective.
The instant noodle brand “Dianmian” from Baodao Taiwan explains this very well. Although instant noodles are very convenient for ordinary people, there are many challenges and dangers for the visually impaired. “Ordering noodles” is printed with braille on the outer package of the product, and the double-layer bowl design is also adopted in the structural design to facilitate the flow of hot water to the lower layer after the noodles are cooked, which not only avoids the risk of overflow when eating, but also avoids the noodles from being overcooked. In addition, the seasoning of “point noodles” is very easy to dissolve and only needs to be stirred. Finally, two heat insulation sheets are connected on both sides of the top bowl to facilitate lifting and avoid scalding your fingers. The small warm heart design is enough to bring convenience to the blind and create recognition.
Picture source: Sixi highlight packaging design
intelligent technology helps the visually impaired to be “clear-minded”
Among tens of millions of visually impaired people around the world, some are caused by acquired accidents or diseases, and others are unable to make correct judgments based on touch because the tactile nerve has been degraded or damaged. How to provide them with barrier free products and catering services?
Scientific and technological progress has promoted smart phones to become a necessity of public life. The constantly rich functions of smart phones also promote the development of auxiliary tools for the visually impaired towards intelligence and humanization. For example, you can attach QR code to the product package, use Braille to guide the visually impaired to find the bar code, and then scan it with the function or app used to help the visually impaired scan QR code in the smartphone settings to obtain voice messages such as expiration date, allergens and nutrients, so as to help the visually impaired make segmentation choices.
American start-up Aira has developed a mobile app (download link: Google play, IOS). After starting this app, there will be called “agents” The real-time operator can remotely assist the user in purchasing through visual interpretation through mobile phone lens, and can even help him find a specific chili sauce. However, the service is currently a paid subscription and is only available in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Source: Aira official website
Of course, not all such services will be charged. Google has developed an artificial intelligence toolkit for visually impaired people in the lookout application, which can scan long documents and read food labels. An article on Google’s artificial intelligence blog said that this application for Android phones has about 2 million “popular products” in its database stored on the phone, and the directory will change according to the user’s location in the world. Users only need to move cans or bottles to facilitate camera capture. It will compare the information they see with the product image database. When they match, they will read the brand, product, flavor and other relevant information; If there is a problem, the application can also scan the barcode at any time. In addition, the application is available in Spanish, German, French and Italian.
Similarly, similar applications can be used on the iPhone: for example, be my eyes, which can also help people with vision loss improve their independence by quickly and easily identifying products.
No matter what kind of intelligent terminal, it needs to scan and identify the specific graphic area on the package. What if there is no assistance, or the visually impaired cannot aim at the package? Can this area be made into a special image that can be found at a “glance” of the mobile phone, so as to improve the recognition speed and accuracy?
In May this year, Kellogg announced the launch of the world’s first visually impaired friendly cereal box with start-up navilens. Unlike other types of printed codes, this new technology called navilens prints high contrast color squares on a black background. When the blind or visually impaired point the terminal smart device towards the cereal box, it allows the smart phone to obtain the code on the package within a distance of up to three meters, and play label information such as ingredients and allergens to shoppers, Auxiliary tools can also be used to read on the shopper’s own equipment.
It is reported that the project has been piloted in the UK. The evaluation of the project by the Royal Institute for the blind (RNIB) shows that 97% of the participants agree that they hope to see more such barrier free functions on grocery store packaging in the future. Kellogg said that the new packaging box will be fully put into use in Ireland in 2022, and the first batch of special K boxes that can be used will be put on shelves in January.
A study published by the world-famous medical journal the lancet in 2017 pointed out that by 2050, the global blind population will triple, and it is expected to reach 115 million people. Most of the affected people are distributed in underdeveloped areas of Asia and Africa. The increase in the number of people means that the market becomes larger. As a people’s livelihood industry, food should not only do its part to promote social equity, but also think about how to meet the increasingly surging consumer demand in the future.
October 15, 2021 is the 37th “international blind day”. All over the country, rich and colorful scientific and technological activities to help the blind create a strong atmosphere of “understanding, respecting, caring and helping the disabled”. Smart home, blind tourism, obstacle movies Modern technology makes it possible for the blind to connect seamlessly with the world.
Compared with overseas markets, China’s packaged food market for visually impaired people has just started. Overseas innovation cases show us that there are so many forces to devote themselves to product development and innovation of visually impaired people, and also remind domestic food enterprises that they should not ignore those people hiding in secret corners.
“I can’t tell if I touch it! How can I improve food packaging without considering the needs of visual impairment?”, Huang Jingxiang
Cover source: latest design
Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246);
Join the community: Cherry (micro signal: 15240428449).
The registration channel for the fourth Isee global food innovation award has been opened. Launched by Foodaily daily food in 2018, the iSEE Innovation Award excavates and commends the global product / brand / technology / enterprise / personas innovation model from the perspective of business ecology. Through media campaigns, innovative search and social experience marketing activities, it shows the innovation to industry, business and consumers, and shows China’s innovation to the world, and promotes the integration of overseas and local innovation. Empowering China’s new consumption. There is not only competition, but also content, communication, experience and social networking. We look forward to the participation of every food enterprise! (click the picture to view the detailed introduction)
Food people are “watching”
- Yuanqi forest’s organizational structure was accused of large-scale adjustment. The valuation of meisujia’er may exceed US $2 billion. Haidilao was frustrated as a vice brand of fast food. Coca Cola pushed the temperature change bottle, and Taobao planned to prohibit sellers from returning cash to guide high praise
- Top ten “rollover” online red food in 2021