Supermarkets make changes in reaction to RNIB’s best practice guidance

Post date: 
Thursday, 14 May 2020
Other campaigning
Photo of an isle in a supermarket

Since the introduction of social distancing and changes made in stores to enforce these rules, we've been working closely with several leading supermarkets to try to make sure they’re meeting the needs of blind or partially sighted customers. 

Although we’re not yet where we need to be, some supermarkets have made several positive steps forward. You may have already seen our best practice guide for supermarkets, and thanks to productive conversations with chains, this is beginning to be implemented in-store:

  • Tesco will be distributing our advice amongst their frontline staff, and have already begun to make some accessibility adjustments recommended by us, such as supplying tape to all of its stores across the UK for use on Perspex screens so that they are visible. 
  • Sainsbury’s will be distributing our advice amongst their frontline staff, and have now incorporated these tips into its customer services policies. 
  • Asda will be distributing our advice amongst their frontline staff, and after contact with them, they confirmed that the “no touching” of items you don’t purchase policy was vague guidance and staff wouldn’t be will be told to enforce it.
  • Waitrose and Lidl will also be distributing our advice amongst their frontline staff.

While we are pleased the supermarkets are making these changes, we know there is a long way to go to ensure people who are blind or partially sighted can access groceries. Access to groceries has been the biggest issue facing our community since the outbreak, and we’re receiving an average of over 100 calls a day about this. 

Thanks again to the 22,653 people who signed our joint petition with Thomas Pocklington Trust, Guide Dogs, Visionary and Vision UK about the importance of priority delivery slots which we submitted to Defra. We’ve heard that local authorities are going to be able to refer into these slots and we’re currently talking to Defra about how we can ensure all blind and partially sighted people who need one are able to access them. We’ll keep you updated as we hear more.