Quick Solutions to Milk and Ice Cream Marketing Problems

Damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation and excessive brightness in dairy display lighting can cost dairy retailers plenty from rapid deterioration of product flavor, color and texture. Scientific studies demonstrate that light exposure can cause chemical changes in dairy fats and proteins and diminish the fresh colors and delicate flavors of milk and ice cream. Milk, ice cream and other dairy products will last longer with Promolux safe spectrum display lighting.

Promolux International has drawn on years of research and dozens of field trials to design specialized showcase lighting. Safe Spectrum Lighting was created for the retail food industry to meet the need for increased food safety and improved shelf life for merchandising displays and, of paramount importance to any retailer, always with the best true color presentation possible.

Photo Oxidation in Milk Display Cabinets

Promolux International offers solutions for superior milk and ice cream displays in stores and supermarkets. Minimizing light damage with Promolux can reduce product losses, add significant revenue and help maximize high-margin sales.

The “light struck” or photo oxidation effect on milk has been demonstrated in numerous studies of the effects of natural light and fluorescent lighting in food displays. Milk loses flavor under conventional fluorescent lights and also suffers nutrient losses, including the degradation of riboflavin and vitamins A and D.

One study reported that trained panelists were able to detect an oxidized flavor after only 15 to 30 minutes of light exposure and a consumer test group detected flavor changes after a time period between 54 minutes to 2 hours.

In her paper, New Study Validates Light Blocking Efforts: Teens Taste Light-Oxidation in Milk and Don’t Like It, Kathryn Chapman reported: “Both natural and artificial light can induce quality defects that consumers notice—and don’t like. Light exposure causes chemical reactions in milk that can modify the proteins and fats that are present to produce many negative flavors, ranging from burnt protein (burnt feathers or hair) to cardboard or metallic. The resulting off-flavors are dependent upon various factors such as exposure time, intensity and wavelength of light, and composition of the milk.”

A report from Cornell University confirmed that a “Light-oxidized defect develops in milk as a result of its exposure to sunlight or to fluorescent lighting … common in store dairy cases. Light initiates a chemical reaction in milk that modifies specific proteins and fats, resulting in the characteristic off-flavors.”

The Cornell study explained that photo oxidation can occur very quickly in dairy display cabinets:

“Exposure to sunlight for as little as 10-15 minutes (5 minutes in very intense light) is sufficient to cause the defect and longer exposure times are generally required for fluorescent lighting. The closer the milk is to the fluorescent light source (or the more intense the light), the quicker the development of the off-flavor.

Cornell noted further that milk packaging can provide some protection: “In general, the defect is more common in milk packaged in transparent glass or plastic, though it can also occur in milk in paper cartons if there is sufficient light intensity and exposure time.”

Ice Cream Displays

Milk is not the only dairy product susceptible to light damage in from display case lighting. Photo oxidation can also damage ice cream products in the dairy freezer, since the fat content in ice cream is fairly high. A study published in the Journal of Food Science reported that “ice cream might deteriorate during storage under strong lighting in grocery stores. Light-induced oxidation could potentially cause serious problems in the quality and safety of ice cream.”

Promolux Safe Spectrum Lighting

Promolux lamps emit 86% less UV radiation than conventional display case lighting. Typical fluorescent lamps convert approximately 60 percent of the input energy directly into ultraviolet energy, with 38 percent going into heat and 2 percent into visible light. Damage to sensitive dairy products, fading and discoloration is a result of heat and UV radiation typically found in fluorescent lamps.

Promolux offers milk and ice cream retailers cost effective options. Safe Spectrum lighting is food safe balanced spectrum light is and is designed to improve the marketability of perishable goods in two important ways: by reducing the levels of harmful wavelengths of the color spectrum and by minimizing damage to foods displayed for sale to the public. Using Promolux color balanced, low radiation lamps results in improved food safety, reduced rates of spoilage, and visually attractive food presentations.

Scotty Davenport is one of many enthusiastic store owners who use Promolux balanced spectrum lighting for true color definition and food safety. He states:

“I started looking for better lights because on our ice cream we were constantly getting a frost buildup and high condensation. I found Promolux on the Internet and they gave me the name of a distributor in my area. When I put Promolux bulbs in my case, I no longer had any trouble with frost buildup or condensation.

“And with Promolux—customers often comment to me that the colors of my ice cream are so bright and vibrant—no matter which flavor. I am in the process of opening another store, and let me tell you—one of the first things I am doing is yanking the regular bulbs out of my case and replacing them with Promolux!”

The quick solution for effective milk and ice cream displays is to switch to Promolux. All you need to do is replace your light bulbs. For information about Promolux distributors in your area, call 1-800-519-1222. Visit the Promolux website at www.promolux.com and www.safespectrum.com .


New Study Validates Light Blocking Efforts: Teens Taste Light-Oxidation in Milk and Don’t Like It. Kathryn Chapman. Dairy Foods (Sept. 2002).

Light-Oxidized Flavor Defect of Milk. Dairy Science Facts 2002. Cornell University.

Photooxidative Stability of Ice Cream Prepared from Milk Fat . M. Shiota, N. Ikeda, H. Konishi, and T. Yoshioka. Journal of Food Science, vol. 67, no.3 (2002).

Scotty Davenport is the owner of The McCall Candy Company, ID

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