Merchandising with Safe Spectrum Lighting
Intensely bright lighting has long been a standard for the display of fresh foods in retail settings. This standard however, is becoming increasingly understood as a source of damage to the safety and appearance of the products it is trying to promote.
Over 50 years of research have proven that artificial light sources contribute to oxidization and photochemical reactions in fresh foods resulting in their premature discoloration and spoilage: the brighter the light, the greater the damage.
"...36.7% of the meat purchases from self-service counters were unplanned and ... these impulse purchases were made primarily because of attractive appearance."
Modern displays of fresh foods are brightly lit in keeping with the idea that shoppers are attracted to and prefer bright displays, which in turn leads to improved sales volumes for retailers. What is less understood is the negative impact this retail lighting trend has on food safety, shelf life, and the visual appeal of food, which is affected by the off colors created by the yellow and green spectra produced by general lighting products.
"...visual appearance is rapidly assessed and is interpreted into a response: to buy or not to buy, to eat or not to eat."
Thousands of retailers worldwide have realized the value of Safe Spectrum® technology and are using Promolux® lighting products in their fresh food departments. Promolux® Safe Spectrum® offers a solution for the estimated billions of dollars lost in the US retail grocery industry due to the damaging effects of light on food shelf life. By specifying Promolux®, these progressive retailers have discovered the bottom line benefits of enhanced food safety, extended shelf life, and natural, fresh looking merchandising presentations. The following abstracts provide further insight into the importance of light quality and presentation for the merchandising of fresh foods.
A Comparison of Five Different Modified Atmosphere Package Methods for Retail Display-Ready Ground Beef. L.I. Kohls, J.L. Stefanek, C. D. Smith, K.E. Belk, J.A. Scanga, J. N. Sofos and G.C. Smith. 2001 Animal Sciences Research Report. The Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University.
"Consumers view color as one of the most important attributes of fresh beef when making a decision to purchase retail product. Color, therefore, determines appeal of the product in the retail case and consumer acceptability." "Because visual appearance of ground beef is important to the consumer when making the decision to purchase, retailers discount or discard product that is not acceptable in color, resulting in a substantial economic loss for the retailer."
Beef Color as Related to Consumer Acceptance and Palatability. L. E. Jeremiah, Z.L. Carpenter and G.C. Smith. Journal of Food Science, vol. 37 (1972): 476-479.
"Consumer studies have shown that physical appearance of a retail cut in the display case is the most important factor determining retail selection of meat products." "Consumers select meat cuts primarily for leanness and then for appearance and freshness, with judgments for the latter two attributes based primarily on brightness of color." " The importance of attractive lean color was further emphasized by Shaw (cited by Nelson, 1964) who reported that 36.7% of the meat purchases from self-service counters were unplanned and that these impulse purchases were made primarily because of attractive appearance."
Factors Affecting Consumer Selection and Acceptability of Beef in Central Alberta. L.E. Jeremiah. Journal of Consumer Studies and Home Economics, vol. 5 (1981): 257-268.
"The fact that 41.9% of the consumers interviewed in the present study considered colour when making meat purchases substantiates that colour is one of the most important selection criteria."
Acceptance of Fresh Chicken Meat Presented Under Three Light Sources. S. Barbut. Poultry Science, vol. 80 (2001): 101-104.
"When a consumer is presented with a package of fresh meat, visual appearance is rapidly assessed and is interpreted into a response: to buy or not to buy, to eat or not to eat." "Color is probably the single most important appearance factor, especially today when meat cuts are already packaged." "Packaged meat makes the consumer less able to get a true sense of smell and touch, which could be used to evaluate factors such as tenderness, juiciness, and flavor."
Birren F. (1963). Color and Human Appetite. Food Technology, vol. 17:753-757.
Clark. C.N. (1956). The Basis for Appropriate Lighting for Meat Displays. Proceedings of the Meat Industry Research Conference (American Meat Institute: Washington, D.C.)
Francis F.J. and F.M. Clydesdale. (1975). Food Colorimetry: Theory and Applications. Westport, CT: AVI.