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Is Your Grocery Store’s Lighting Killing Shelf-Life?

groceryAs a grocery store professional, you know that there are many moving parts while opening a store. However, one of the most overlooked aspects for many store operators is the lighting!

Lights play a unique role in a store, especially grocery stores. The type of lights you use can determine how often people shop, what they buy, what they don’t buy, and so much more.

Grocery stores have to take careful consideration when determining which lights to use and where to use them. Not only can lights influence your customers, but they can also impact your product.

Lighting can have a profound effect on how long food lasts on your shelves.

Read below to learn how lighting can affect produce, hot foods, frozen foods, and boxed foods. And how a grocery lighting expert from GCE National can help you find the ideal lighting for your grocery store!

produceHow Lighting Affects Produce

Specific lights have different effects on produce. One of the consequences of inferior lighting is on the physical appearance of the product.

Depending on the temperature and intensity, lighting can harm the things around them; this is the case with produce. Many store owners do not think of intensity or temperature when picking out their produce lights. Rather than bring out the vibrant colors of the fresh foods, some lights will harm the appearance of the produce.

While a kale bunch may be dark green in natural light, it may appear dull or off-color under the wrong light. Many shoppers won’t buy food that does not look good. Because shoppers do not purchase bad-looking produce, it will eventually spoil on the shelf.

Another lighting effect on produce is its shelf life. Bright, intense lights produce much more heat than other lights. According to Mark Granfar, the CEO at Econofrost and Promolux, “the recommended storage temperature for fresh foods is below -1.5°C (29°F). But in most supermarkets, it is about 5 degrees higher. Exposing fresh foods to a higher temperature reduces the food’s storage life by 50 percent.”

This can be detrimental to your store’s bottom line.

hot foodHow Lighting Affects Hot Food

Comparable to produce, grocery stores that do not choose the correct temperature or bulb could be doing a disservice to their products. Hot food is no exception.

Hot food can typically be found under a warming light, in a display case, or on a buffet line. There are multiple effects of lighting on hot food, both good and bad.

On the plus side, lights keep hot foods hot! As you know, food must be stored, prepared, and served at a specific temperature. If it isn’t, there is a severe risk of food poisoning. By keeping food under a warming light, you are protecting customers from any adverse consequences.

Another positive effect is using complementary colors and shades; this can bring out the textures and colors, making the hot food appear better. For example, warmer, yellow lighting can boost sales in a bakery display case because the loaves of bread will look more appetizing.

On the negative side, unflattering temperatures and shades can ruin the texture, color, and sometimes taste! Using the wrong temperature can make food look spoiled. Choosing the temperature of the lights can boost your sales or be the downfall for your hot foods.

frozen foodHow Lighting Affects Frozen Food

Many lights are used in grocery stores, but fluorescent and LED are the two most common. You are more than likely to find fluorescent in the long aisles of frozen food. The initial cost of fluorescent lights is typically a cheaper option than most.

Unfortunately, fluorescent lights are not the most stable lighting option. There is a chemical reaction within fluorescent lights that ensures its productivity. Because of this chemical reaction, fluorescent lights tend to get very hot; this is not good for freezer sections.

Frozen foods must remain frozen. When fluorescent lights are on, they radiate heat that the freezer must fight against. Many grocery stores will see an increase in energy output because the freezers compensate for the extra heat radiating from the fluorescent lights.

package goodsHow Lighting Affects Boxed Foods

Lighting can also affect boxed foods and packaged foods. Because every boxed item does not look the same, it is impossible to supply light that will benefit each item.

Boxed foods, like the previous food items, can be hindered under different lights. Some lights will cause shadows that keep food packages hidden from customers. Other lights may provide too much light and give off a glare that makes it hard for customers to see.

Over time, boxed foods may become discolored or warped from harsh lights. Thankfully, some companies understand this struggle; this is why you will see packaged food in brown or green glass because it blocks out a lot of light.

The Ideal Lighting to Maximize Shelf Life

Now that we understand how lighting can shorten the shelf life of foods, how can we maximize the shelf life? Consider the following suggestions:

Lower the Intensity

The main reason that fresh foods are not long-lasting is because of the bright, intense lights. By lowering the intensity of your lighting, you are slowing down the decaying process and effectively saving your fresh foods.

Consider Motion Sensors

Motion sensors can be an asset to grocery store owners looking to save some money. Even if you cannot provide the proper lighting or fixtures, motion sensors can help your grocery store in the long run. Motion sensors can lower energy output and electricity bills. If no customers are looking at a product, there is no reason for the lights; this can save your grocery store a pretty penny.

Make the Switch

Many have started making the switch from fluorescent to LEDs. While LEDs may initially be more expensive, they save money in the long run. LEDs can be cheaper because they last much longer than their counterparts. Another bonus is that LEDs do not increase the temperature as fluorescents do. They can also provide a crisper, brighter light in the freezer section.

Speak with a Grocery Lighting Expert from GCE National

Still unsure on what lights to use in your grocery store? Try talking with a professional. GCE National is proficient in all things lighting. They know what lights will decrease shelf-life, what lights will save your produce, and how to do everything in between. No need to take my word for it!

Speak with a grocery lighting expert from GCE National today!

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