A big advantage of using LEDs in food lighting is that they don’t generate as much heat as fluorescent lamps. When it comes to lighting meat and other sensitive food items at a close range, LEDs might be key. Let’s explore the trend of LEDs and refrigeration units.
A recent study conducted by Kyle Steele of Kansas State University indicates that switching from fluorescent lamps to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in grocery store refrigeration units can extend the shelf life of meat. LEDs typically use less wattage than fluorescent lamps. Less wattage means less heat generated, keeping the core of the meat cooler and fresher for as much as a day longer than with fluorescent lamps. Can LEDs make that trip to the grocery store even better for customers and retailers?
In the study, the first major factor was operating costs. The use of LEDs lowered the operating efficiency of the units because they use less energy and have a longer life than the fluorescent lamps that are currently in place, saving on energy and re-lamping costs.
Another major aspect of the study was the color of meat. When meat is displayed in the refrigeration unit at your local grocery store, the natural exposure to oxygen and light start to discolor the meat, making the meat less desirable to the customer. The heat generated by the light source plays an important role as well.
So should LEDs replace fluorescent lamps in the refrigerators at your local grocery store? If it saves money and energy, then it seems like the smart choice. One thing to keep in mind is the color temperature and rendering of the LEDs. By using a high CRI for your LEDs and a warmer color temperature, the meat can look as good as the store intends, making everyone happy.
By: Ryan Conover