Imagine yourself wandering through the aisles of your local grocery store: admire the rich crimson tomatoes neatly spread out near the bright green heads of lettuce, stop to gaze at the neat rows of skewered meat, and finally delight in the lovely rows of pastry in the bakery department. All these delectable food items that excite your sense of taste also catch your eye with their bright colours. These days, the lighting in grocery stores is cleverly used to enhance the beauty of food, and attract the consumer’s attention to a particularly well displayed assortment of products. Lighting serves to make food appear as savoury as it should. Following are a few tips regarding the selection of appropriate lighting that will bring your food selections into focus.

Greener Grocery Stores

Faced with the ever-increasing need to “Go Green” and “Promote Sustainability” through various programmes such as Green Globes and the Canada Green Building Council, many people feel that LED-based lighting technology is the preferred solution to harmonizing efficiency and sustainability. “Today, DEL lighting is no longer at the experimental stage; it’s a technology that has proved successful and offers a temperature colour of the highest quality: it enhances the value of a product and generates visual comfort that appeals to consumers”, explains Steven Fauteux, Director, Product Innovation at STANDARD.

The Right Colour for Each Food

The number of food items that deserve optimal presentation on today’s grocery shelves are growing by leaps and bounds, and it is critical that each one appear at its freshest to attract shoppers. For instance, tomatoes should dazzle with their bright red colouring; the variegated hues of yellow, wheat and brown need to enhance the assorted collection of bakery goods; the silvery tones and sparkling blue highlights of the fishmonger’s display ought to attract customers far and wide. It is vital that store owners take colour temperature and colour rendering into account when setting up their lighting systems.Learn more about various colour temperatures, their impact; read our article 50 shades of light in our Online Journal.

1. Butcher’s Shop

When you want to highlight meats that you arrange in your butcher’s display cases, make sure the predominant colour is red; it makes the meat look so appetizing! Often, lighting systems in this department don’t offer a proper red tone. Showcase the true quality of your meat; select a light source with a good R9 rendering. Learn more about the CRI; read our article Select Lighting to Enhance the True Colours of your Store Merchandise, in our Online Journal. Moreover, when you plan your lighting arrangement in the butcher’s shop or the fishmonger’s section, you need to install your light sources a fair distance from the meat and fish to avoid heat from these sources on the food items that might compromise the lifespan of the meat or fish.

2. Fishmonger’s Display

Salmon and shrimp should be displayed in a warm-coloured setting to exhibit their pink hue, whereas white-fleshed fish as well as seafood look much more appetizing when displayed in a blueish light. We often find these two groups of fish in a single area, but their divergent lighting coverage is not necessarily contradictory as warm and cold colours do harmonize quite adequately. However, in cases when it’s not possible to install two distinct sets of lights for the fishmonger’s department, we recommend a colour temperature of 4000K.

3. Fruit and Vegetables

The colour of fruit and vegetables is far more appealing under natural light, closer to warmer shades. We recommend a colour temperature of 3000 K.

4. Bakery

Warm colours such as yellow, brown and shades of orange of bread can be enhanced under a warmer glow, thus making the baked good look quite appetizing!

In a Nutshell

Grocery light infographic


  1. I was walking around my local supermarket and I noticed that they got new display cases for the store with better lights. I agree that it is critical that each item to look to be the freshest it can be. I know with these new displays, the food looked much better than normal. I didn’t know that this much thought went into lighting though. That is really cool! Thank you for all the information!

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