The Challenges of Grocery Store Display Lighting

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Appropriately lighting the display cases in a supermarket is one of the most challenging tasks managers face. However, grocery stores are more than just places to buy food. Now they are destinations for pharmacy, floral, bakery, and banking needs. Proper display case lighting may not seem like a deal breaker, but if you do not make careful lighting decisions, your business may suffer as a result. Considering cost, technology, health codes, and environment all have one thing in common: lighting.


Supermarket lighting carries some of the highest cost to build and maintain in the retail industry. This means that grocery stores need comprehensive solutions including good values in engineering, power control systems, and more. These retail lighting solutions must keep time and money in mind, as well as food safety. Smart design concepts and best practices can improve upfront cost and total cost of ownership. Determine which lighting styles and types are best for you. Are you trying to create a spotlight, showcase, overhead lighting, or specific feel? Keep this in mind when analyzing cost of your lighting.


It is well known that commercial lighting contributes to increased operational costs within supermarkets. With electricity and maintenance eating into most of the expense, technology can help shave dollars off of this cost. Using modern technology, grocers can expect to save up to 70% in energy costs while also lowering overall store maintenance costs. Lighting controls can deliver huge savings and upgrade the functionality of your store.

Health codes

Grocery stores must ensure that they meet a variety of health codes. An area where this is seen frequently is in the meat department. Have you stopped to think how your lighting might affect the products in this area? If not thought through carefully, inferior meat display case lighting will negatively affect time sensitive produce. Exposing such products to additional and unnecessary heat given off by improper lighting shortens its shelf life and reduces its appeal to shoppers. Unfortunately, cheap display case lighting is often installed at the sacrifice of the products. Using low radiation light in all refrigerated display cases will reduce the amount of heat and damaging ultraviolet radiation that enters them. Balanced spectrum lamps used in produce displays can also contribute to extended shelf life of fruits and vegetables as well as show off their true and vibrant colors.

Appealing to customers

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do your products stack up to that saying? If not, you may be using the incorrect lighting. Using white light for fish and seafood may help this produce look fresher.  Create a warm, mellow feel with specific lighting by fresh fruits and vegetables to enable shoppers to relax and take their time. Create showcases that inspire shoppers to take a second look, and make sure that meats appear fresh and juicy in their displays.

When creating your lighting design, think through each challenge. Making sure your grocery store is appealing to customers, meets health codes, has appropriate technology, and is cost-effective all comes back to one thing: lighting. Make sure you don’t overlook such a seemingly small detail.