Lighting has more of an effect on food than you might realise. Not only do certain types of light lead to faster or slower degradation of food products, but they can also make food look much more appealing. Many food retailers, grocery stores and delicatessens are beginning to pick up on this and change their lights over so that they can offer fresher-looking and longer lasting food.
How Lighting Affects Food Preservation
Foods can spoil at a faster rate if they are exposed to light, both natural and artificial. The process is called photo degradation and it occurs as a chemical reaction. The specific components in food that photo degradation affects are pigments, vitamins, fats and proteins. You might notice that the food tastes off or loses colour, but you won’t notice that it has also lost vitamins.
The strength of the light can directly affect how fast food spoils, so harsher and hotter lights like halogen and incandescent light are probably not the best types to use in any store that sells food.
LED lighting, on the other hand, has been found to keep food safe without the added and harmful use of chemical sanitizers or additives. Infrared heat emissions with LEDs are quite low and they are an incredibly efficient source of light. Since they reduce thermal damage, they also reduce any degradation of foods. They are even good to use in refrigerators to illuminate any products. In fact, they recently have been shown to preserve or even enhance the amount and quality of nutrients in crops after they’ve been harvested. They also contribute to the ripening of fruits and have a proven ability to reduce fungal infections.
How Lighting Affects Food Presentation
So we’ve talked about what light can do to the longevity of food and produce, but what about how lighting can be used to manipulate the way food is presented?
LED lights not only have proven to be good for food preservation, but they also contribute to foods appearing brighter and fresher. Some types of LED light can nearly mimic the sun’s white light, which is the most flattering light when dealing with produce and meat.
Some LED globes can even be programmed to enhance certain colours on the foods you see at the supermarket, like the reds in a steak or the greens of the limes. Compared to fluorescent lighting, LED lighting on food makes everything so much more colourful and far less washed out. Lighting affects the colours of your produce, and this, in turn, affects the opinions of your customers.
If a customer walked into a brightly lit supermarket to a range of colourful fruit and vegetables and fresh-looking meat, it would trigger an emotional impulse in them that would make them more likely to buy what was in front of them. Often fluorescents, while energy efficient, make some foods, specifically deli meat, look as though it is already spoiled.
Interested in exploring different types of lighting for food? Contact ANL Lighting in Victoria today.