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Your Grocery Store Lighting Guide

When you are out shopping for your weekly groceries, how do you see what you are buying? The lights! The lighting has a vast effect on your grocery store and your grocery store experience. Want to learn how lighting affects your grocery store and the risk of poor lighting?

Keep reading to learn how to light a grocery store effectively and how a GCE National grocery store lighting expert can help you!

Lighting Has Vast Effects on Grocery Stores

Lighting affects the customer, the employees, the store, the merchandise, and so much more. How does lighting change the way people view grocery stores?

A light’s Color Rendering Index (CRI) affects the appearance of color and how shoppers perceive the color. Low CRI will not enhance colors to their full potential. It will also cause the colors of products to blend. This prevents shoppers from seeing merchandise at its best.

Color temperature can also play a role in lighting. Just like CRI, color temperature determines how an item is observed. Lights that are too warm will make a vibrant piece of fruit look rotten. Lights that are too cool will make freshly baked bread look undesirable.

Lighting intensity can affect grocery stores as well. Lighting intensity can cause glares, reflections, and a lack of contrast. This can affect how employees perform, customers shop, and the merchandise’s appearance.

Risk of Poor Lighting

Poor lighting can have a negative consequence on your grocery store. For example, the physical temperature of lights can affect your customers and your merchandise. Lights that are too hot can make customers and employees feel uncomfortable. When people feel uncomfortable in a place, they are less likely to stay there. Hot lights can drive your customers away.

Lights that get too hot can also affect your product. Hot lights can decrease the shelf life of many fresh foods. Incandescent and halogen bulbs typically produce large amounts of heat. It is best not to put incandescent and halogen bulbs near fresh produce and meats.

Poor lighting can cause grocery store owners to spend more money. If you do not invest in good lighting, you may pay more for maintenance, labor, and energy. Lower-quality bulbs often require more attention and attentiveness because they need upkeep and mandatory servicing.

Improper color temperature alters the appearance of food and merchandise. The three generic color temperatures are cool, neutral, and warm. Each temperature enhances different features of produce, food, and other grocery store items. It is pertinent to choose different color temperatures for different areas of the grocery store. Grocery store owners that only choose one temperature are doing a disservice to their merchandise and profit.

How to Light a Grocery Store Effectively

Here are five tips that will help you light your grocery store effectively: focus on the customer, focus on the store, focus on the product, focus on the cost, and talk to an expert!


When lighting a business, your focus should be on attracting customers and enticing them to stay. As a grocery store owner, you need to create a space that makes your guests and customers comfortable. A comfortable customer will likely visit longer than an uncomfortable customer. The longer a customer stays in your store, the more likely they are to purchase your products.

Consider your clientele when choosing general lights and decorative lights. General lights, also known as ambient lights, provide the most lighting throughout the store. Not only does it provide the most lighting, but it gives atmospheric lighting as well. Ambient lighting is used to illuminate your business and to create the mood of your store. Use your general lights to create a space that makes guests and shoppers feel comfortable. Good lighting catches shoppers’ attention and keeps their attention.


As previously stated, lights can set the mood of a business. When choosing lights for your grocery store, focus on the best aspects of the store: task lighting and decorative lighting. Decorative lighting benefits grocery stores in many ways. Decorative lighting can include chandeliers, lamps, and pendants. These types of lights establish the mood and brand of the grocery store. Decorative lighting also conveys feelings of friendliness and helpfulness.

By using decorative lighting and contrast lighting, owners can create layers of light. Grocery store owners can use contrast lighting to highlight various areas of the store. This can be used to illuminate sections of your grocery store and to emphasize important things.

Task lighting is vital for the success of any grocery store. Task lighting assists employees with necessary jobs and aids customers with basic errands. For employees, task lighting makes restocking, cleaning, customer assistance, serving, and cashiering possible. For customers, task lighting makes navigation, shopping, checking out, and inspection possible.


There are many ways to enhance your grocery store’s products. The most common way to make your merchandise enticing is by using accent lighting, color temperature, and specific luminaries. You can purchase luminaires with glare reduction. By purchasing this type of luminaire, there will be no glare or reflection that can hinder the appearance of your product.

Accent lighting can be used to illuminate significant places and things. Grocery store owners can use accent lighting to illuminate items on sale, clearance products, and merchandise bins.

Color temperature determines the appearance of your products. When choosing color temperature, select colors that will elevate the product. For example, red lights should be used for fresh meat. Fruits and vegetables should be under natural light for vibrancy, and bakery sections should use warmer colors to enhance bread textures.


Every grocery store owner knows the struggle of choosing a good light on a tight budget. When focusing on the cost, there are things to examine first. Examine maintenance fees, labor costs, installation timeframes, and energy efficiency.

Lower-quality lights typically require more maintenance and upkeep. Maintenance fees require labor for servicing and repair.

Most grocery stores opt for LED lights. LED lights are more energy-efficient. They also cost less in electricity charges. LED’s can save you energy costs and electricity bills.


If you truly want to light a grocery store effectively, a grocery store lighting professional can help you immensely. GCE National assists grocery store owners with lighting their stores and businesses. An expert from GCE National can help you avoid poor lighting, low-quality lights, and costly expenses.

With assistance from a professional, you can accomplish the following: install lights that create a comfortable space for customers, lights that aid employees in service, lights that enhance your merchandise, purchase cost-efficient lights, and the imminent success of your store.

Talk to a GCE National grocery store lighting expert to learn how to light your grocery store!

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Download our e-book 7 Things To Consider When Selecting a Lighting Supplier to help guide you in making sound decisions and avoid potential mishaps along the way.