East of England Co-op leads the way in introducing i-viewer magnifiers

The i-viewer magnifying device which has been introduced by the East of England Co-op in its food st

The i-viewer magnifying device which has been introduced by the East of England Co-op in its food stores and pharmacies. - Credit: Archant

The East of England Co-operative society says it is the first multiple retailer in the UK to have installed “i-viewer” magnifiers in all of its stores.

The pull-out magnifier was developed over nine years to help shoppers read packaging labels and was voted “The Great New Idea” by visits at the National Convenience Show in 2012.

I-viewers have now been introduced in all of the East of England Co-op’s 148 food stores, forecourts and pharmacies across Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk, with the bright yellow devices designed to be clearly visible.

Customers who are visually impaired, or who just need a boost to read some of the smaller print on food labels, can simply slide the magnifier from the store shelf and place over the label.

Positive feedback has already been received from customers, with three quarters (75%) saying they would find the i-viewer helpful and more than one third (38%) adding that they would shop more often at stores where i-viewers are fitted.

Roger Grosvenor, executive officer for retail at the East of England Co-op, a member of the EADT/EDP Top 100 listing of the 100 largest businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk, said: “It can be frustrating, and potentially hazardous, for our customers if they cannot easily identify products or their ingredients or other product instructions.

“Whilst labels and package print seems to get smaller, the number of people coping with food allergies or failing eyesight is growing. The i-viewer will help to bridge the gap.”

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Ian Welby of the i-viewer company said: “This is a simple solution to a growing problem; We asked the RNIB to undertake the research on our behalf; its findings told us 83% of people find it difficult or are unable to read the fine print on food and medicine labels and 39% said they had difficulty even with their reading glasses.

“We know 69% of the UK adult population wear corrective eyewear (a staggering 96% for the over 55s) and this number is increasing every year for those with sight problems. We are given to understand that 21million people in the UK suffer with allergies and for 2% of sufferers it is potentially fatal.

“By introducing i-viewer, the East of England Co-op is making it easy for its customers to shop independently, safely and with confidence.”