Operating a grocery store means facing many lighting and energy usage challenges. Bright, crisp displays are required to illuminate products. Not only do these displays need to make produce, meat, flowers, and other perishables stand out, but they also need to prevent spoiling. Of course coolers and refrigeration comprise their own hefty energy expense, which you can minimize with tips we shared in a earlier post. Fortunately individuals selling groceries have a single, simple solution to help them overcome the obstacles facing proper displays and food preservation – LEDs. Here are some of the biggest advantages of LED lights for grocery stores:
Fresher-Looking Fresh Produce
Bright lights make it easier for customers to see the food they might buy. New LEDs certainly help illuminate products. Even better, research shows that compared to other types of common lights, LED lights can make fresh produce and fresh flowers achieve the look of maximum freshness. This is because certain LEDs have a color rendering index (CRI). Lights with high CRI scores draw more color out of items being lit. Tomatoes look more red, lemons look more yellow, and oranges look, well, more orange. As one lighting researcher explained, “LED lights can make something look like it’s a totally different color.” Perishable food might not be fresher with LED lights, but it will sure look like it.
Redder Red Meat
While LED lights may make your produce look fresher, a new study shows that LEDs can actually make red meat stay red for longer. A research team from the University of Missouri tested fresh hamburger meat under a variety of lighting conditions and discovered the meat lit by LEDs kept their redness for longer and sometimes for as long as five days. If you operate a grocery store, you probably know that brown ground beef is no less healthy than red ground beef. You also know that customers don’t care – redder meats fly off the shelves while the brown stuff gets left behind. LED lights will not only make your red meats look more red, they will stay that way too.
Part of the reason why LEDs work so well to light meats and keep them red is that they don’t get very hot. This feature will help grocery coolers and refrigerators as well. LED lights never heat above 150 degrees – they simply don’t get as hot as other lights. With LEDs inside, grocery coolers don’t have to work nearly as hard to keep frozen foods frozen. LEDs deliver other benefits to refrigerators too. LED lighting can be diffused in the direction of your choice rather than spreading in all directions. With directional diffusing, refrigerator lights focus on the product inside rather than highlighting the shelves it sits on. Lastly, LEDs work better in cold temperatures. Fluorescent lights use mercury to emit light. When that mercury is chilled, fluorescents generate less light. The combination of these benefits – cooler, brighter, and more customizable – makes LED lights an ideal upgrade for grocery refrigerators.
Better Bottom Line
The benefits so far have emphasized appearance and performance, but LEDs offer the additional bonus of reducing energy bills. They can reduce lighting-related electricity costs by more than 75 percent. Although they require a larger initial investment, they pay for themselves over time through reductions on a business’s energy bill. By upgrading to LEDs, grocery stores, convenience stores, and any other businesses selling food and drink can make gains on both costs, appearance, and freshness.