Archive for the ‘Article’ Category

Food Waste Represents about 40% of Total Food Production

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Food Waste represents about 40% of the total food production in the USA according to the NRDC, the Natural Resource Defense Council in a recent story carried by PBS News Hour and NPR’s Peter Lehner.

One way to reduce this waste at the retail and supermarket point of sale is to reduce the damage caused by light sources. In recent times it was hoped that LEDs would reduce this through eliminating UV but the main damage is still due to photo oxidation and thus even with LED lighting there is considerable food wasted at the point of sale, says Mark Granfar, president of Promolux Lighting International, a firm that has for over 30 years pioneered less damaging light sources for food display.
 

Over 50% of grocery sales in the USA are for perishables that are subject to shrinkage, discoloration, photo oxidation, and changes to the food’s taste and microbial content, making the food unsafe or unlikely to sell. This represents over $260 billion in grocery sales annually.

There is clear evidence from independent studies by the US government, FMI, universities, international agencies such as the FAO, and others that lighting has a damaging effect on the quality, safety, and shelf life of all perishable foods.

Radiation from the choice of lighting has been proven to have an effect on product surface temperatures, directly and exponentially accelerating microbial growth and leading to unsafe foods.

In tests conducted by Promolux, the return on investment for low radiation lighting in seafood departments can be a matter of weeks, while deli departments with packaged and processed meats can show a longer payback.

The choice of lighting has been proven to have an effect on surface temperature and radiation that can directly and exponentially accelerate microbial growth, leading to unsafe foods. The cost of such food borne illnesses in the USA represents between $5 and $6 billion a year (University of Kansas), not including insurance & liability costs and the reputation and good will equity of the supermarkets involved.

The cost to the industry varies from 3% for some categories to 15% in seafood department shrinkage in US supermarkets (FMI, 1987). Even a conservative average of 5% results in over $13 billion in shrinkage in those departments.

Other products such as beer, wines, and glass packaged foods, which appear to be non perishable, are clearly affected by exposure to lighting.

Food Waste Reduction

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

CBC reports that France is in the midst of a push to cut their food waste in half by 2025, from the current level of 20-30 kg per person, or as much as $27 billion per year total. Other efforts include targeting school cafeteria waste, educating students about reducing waste at home and eliminating best-before dates on non-perishable items.

Last December, a study reported that Canadians waste $31 billion worth of food annually, with 10 per cent of that coming from grocery stores. An investigation by APTN last year called “Wasting Away” revealed that this even happens in Nunavut, home to some of the highest food prices in Canada. Controversy erupted after elders were spotted scavenging for food at the Rankin Inlet dump.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Americans’ annual food waste was worth $161 billion in 2010, or 133 billion pounds total. Ten per cent of that was attributed to grocery stores.

Canada doesn’t have legislation like France’s ground breaking new law, but the Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills grocery store chains recently announced they are trying to reduce food waste by selling “Naturally Imperfect” produce at a 30 per cent discount. This is similar to French chain ‘s Intermarché’s “inglorious” fruits and vegetables which are sold at a similarly reduced price.

France to Require Large Grocery Stores to Give Unsold Food to Charities

One way to reduce this waste at the retail and supermarket point of sale is to reduce the damage caused by light sources. In recent times it was hoped that LEDs would reduce this through eliminating UV but the main damage is still due to photo oxidation and thus even with LED lighting there is considerable food wasted at the point of sale, says Mark Granfar, president of Promolux Lighting International, a firm that has for over 30 years pioneered less damaging light sources for food display.

Over 50% of grocery sales in the USA are for perishables that are subject to shrinkage, discoloration, photo oxidation, and changes to the food’s taste and microbial content, making the food unsafe or unlikely to sell. This represents over $260 billion in grocery sales annually.

There is clear evidence from independent studies by the US government, FMI, universities, international agencies such as the FAO, and others that lighting has a damaging effect on the quality, safety, and shelf life of all perishable foods.

Radiation from the choice of lighting has been proven to have an effect on product surface temperatures, directly and exponentially accelerating microbial growth and leading to unsafe foods.

In tests conducted by Promolux, the return on investment for low radiation lighting in seafood departments can be a matter of weeks, while deli departments with packaged and processed meats can show a longer payback.

The choice of lighting has been proven to have an effect on surface temperature and radiation that can directly and exponentially accelerate microbial growth, leading to unsafe foods. The cost of such food borne illnesses in the USA represents between $5 and $6 billion a year (University of Kansas), not including insurance & liability costs and the reputation and good will equity of the supermarkets involved.

The cost to the industry varies from 3% for some categories to 15% in seafood department shrinkage in US supermarkets (FMI, 1987). Even a conservative average of 5% results in over $13 billion in shrinkage in those departments.

Other products such as beer, wines, and glass packaged foods, which appear to be non-perishable, are clearly affected by exposure to lighting.

According to the National Cattlemen’s Association in 2002, “US retailers failed to capture at least $1 billion annually from fresh beef sales due to product discoloration.”

Based on the evidence and published reports, we can estimate the damage caused by lighting to perishables in retail display at over 33% of this shrinkage, which represents over $4 billion a year in the US alone. This estimate is a conservative one when we consider that according to the National Cattlemen’s Association in 2002, “US retailers failed to capture at least $1 billion annually from fresh beef sales due to product discoloration.” This estimate does not include other meat products besides beef, nor processed meats, fish, poultry, dairy and all other perishables.

Of the estimated shrinkage costs to US supermarkets of over $4 billion due to lighting, and a significant portion can be saved by reducing the radiation of the light sources and by eliminating certain wavelengths of visible and nonvisible radiation that are particularly harmful to food safety and shelf life.

The Right Lighting is a Merchandising Tool

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

I can almost guarantee that today there’s one consistent message virtually every supermarket promotes: that they have safe-to-eat, quality fresh food.

In an industry where mass merchandisers and supercenters grind down prices of center store products, supermarkets use fresh food sections as a competitive tool; retailers rely on their perishable food displays to attract customers and promote impulse sales. Fresh foods are a lifestyle choice for most consumers and a strategic necessity for supermarkets.

Consumers can choose from any number of supermarkets in their neighborhood, so retailers spend thousands on advertising – just to get them to come into their store. Then inside the store, supermarkets spend hundreds of thousands designing perishable food departments and purchasing display cases – all in an effort to get consumers to notice and buy their fresh food.

Yet, after all the care and cost put into the perishable department and display cases, the lights used to merchandise the very product they are trying to attract our attention to are often overlooked and the cheapest, most visually unappealing lights are used!

Using the right lighting is a merchandising tool because decisions to purchase fresh food are subjective! Lighting designed specifically for fresh food merchandising, such as Promolux balanced spectrum, low radiation LEDs & fluorescents, ensure perishable displays get noticed and allow food’s vibrant, natural colors to pop creating a visual ‘wow’!

Retailers across the nation who use Promolux lighting do so because they know consumers buy based on what they perceive to be fresh and appealing. We’ve all opted for one supermarket over another because the fresh meat looks better here, or the produce looks better there. That decision is the “moment of truth” – once inside the store, does the customer buy or not buy?

Customers make their “buy or don’t buy” decision based on eye appeal; fresh food is naturally colorful and retailers across the nation strive to bring that color to the attention of their customers. From a supermarket’s perspective it’s a waste of money if, after all the expense incurred just to get a customer into their store, that customer leaves without buying – because the steak didn’t look good to them or it didn’t appear fresh. The lighting used to showcase a retailer’s fresh food makes world of difference and can easily be the deciding factor in how a customer perceives a food’s freshness and a supermarket’s quality image.

The mindset that all lights are the same is one of the most critical mistakes made in the retail industry; the light in the ceiling should never be used to merchandise the product to be sold! Regular lighting is designed to be as bright as bright as possible using the least amount of energy with no consideration given to the quality of color it displays. For a retailer, the lighting used to showcase the product they’re trying to sell must make that product look fresh and appealing! Fresh food has a time limit – if it doesn’t sell before it goes bad, it goes into the garbage.

Perishable departments have a profit margin of 50% or more – this is where they make their money! Merchandising fresh food with an LED or fluorescent with a balanced color spectrum that’s specifically designed for food ensures perishable displays get noticed. As retailers and merchandisers, we’ve done our job when a customer buys a steak because it looked so good that they visualized cooking it for dinner and imagined how amazing it would taste – all based on how it looked to them when it was inside the display case.

By Scott Werhun, Regional Manager, Promolux Lighting International

Jen Blaikie (Graphics Designer) Joins MGV, Inc.

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Market Group Ventures Inc. (MGV, Inc.) is happy to announce that Jen Blaikie, our contract Graphics Artist has accepted the position to join our team full time.

As our newest addition to the MGV Team, Jen brings a wealth of creative design and graphic skills with her. Originally from the beaches of southern California Jen relocated to Victoria, BC which she now calls home.

Jen graduated with distinction from the Western Academy with a Diploma in Professional Photography and Advanced Visual Communications. Her ten years of experience in the creative field is certainly apparent and is greatly appreciated by the MGV team!

We are certain Jen will be a great asset as she continues to create company documents, flyers and promotional materials to support the efforts of everyone who is marketing Promolux Lighting and Econofrost night covers within the supermarket industry.

We look forward to working with Jen on future projects and we are confident that MGV and it’s supporting members will continue to see a difference in our promotional materials!

MGV, Inc. has supplied technology for the international retail food industry since 1975.

Paola Levet Joins the International Sales Team

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Market Group Ventures Inc. (MGV, Inc.) is pleased to announce Paola Levet has accepted the position to join the International sales team.

Paola will be working with the International sales team to assist in all aspects of customer service and marketing for both products (Promolux Lighting and Econofrost night covers) in all International sales regions.

Paola will be an effective member of the International Sales Team and brings with her a fluency in Spanish which is considered to be a great asset.  We are certain she will be a valuable asset in our continuing efforts to bring merchandising solutions to supermarkets world-wide and in providing excellent customer service in this growing market.

MGV, Inc. has supplied technology for the international retail food industry since 1975.

MGV Welcomes Paola Levet to the Family

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Market Group Ventures Inc. (MGV, Inc.) is very pleased to announce the addition of Paola Levet, to our administrative team for Promolux Lighting International and Econofrost Reflective Night Covers. Paola will be working with our sales team to assist in all aspects of customer service and marketing for both products in our North American and International sales regions.

Paola brings eighteen years experience in Mexico and Canada to MGV, Inc., including positions as Assistant to the Commercial Director for Latin America of Johnson & Johnson and Director of Corporate and Government Relations-Mexico for The Trust for Sustainable Development. She is fluent in English and Spanish and has an International Business Diploma from the Troeller Institute for Global Studies, Mexico City.

We are certain she will be a great asset in our continuing efforts to bring merchandising solutions to supermarkets worldwide.

MGV, Inc. has supplied technology for the international retail food industry since 1975.

New investigation uncovers sources of food borne illness in supermarkets.

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Promolux Lighting International a pioneer in the field of lamp production technology, took note when it was alerted consumers to food safety violations in How Safe is your Supermarket

It’s tough to know how many people get sick from supermarket food, it’s not very serious, perhaps a case of what seems like the flu. People often don’t report food poisoning and if they do, it can still be hard to trace its source. But we do know food poisoning in general is a big problem in this country. The government’s Centers for Disease control estimates 5,000 people die and more than 70 million people get sick each year

Cameras were sent into stores where inspection records indicated a history of food safety violations. In 11 of the 18 stores visited, critical violations were uncovered that were capable of causing harm to a person in the form of food borne illness. It was reported finding critical violations like dirt and bugs around food, as well as potential sources of food poisoning from improper temperature control. Thermometers found food being kept either not cold enough or not hot enough. Food like fresh fish on sale in Texas was at least five degrees too warm.”

Bacteria can grow just as easily in a refrigerated unit if it’s not kept at the right temperature. The danger zone is the range of temperature from 41 to 135. And once you get in the middle of that, that’s where bacteria rages and reproduce. This is part of your job description, keeping foods safe. Keeping hot food hot, keeping cold food cold, and keeping the place clean. It’s a very simple direction.

Promolux International couldn’t agree more, and advises that light bulbs alone can increase surface temperature of foods on display by up to 8 degrees F, especially when placed too near the product. Ultraviolet radiation from general-purpose lamps encourages bacterial growth, enzymes, dehydration and oxidation which degrade food products quality.The Promolux solution is a line of specialty lamps designed for use in supermarkets and other locations where perishable foods are on display. Safe Spectrum Lamps play an important role in regulating surface temperatures of fresh foods and preventing food borne illness originating in foods kept at improper temperatures. Promolux Safe Spectrum lamps reduce the rate of heat and radiation damage to meats, milk, dairy and other products where bacteria can multiply rapidly and are approved in writing by health officials for meat display and other applications. Promolux Lighting products for quality commercial displays are available in all standard sizes and wattages
Promolux Lighting International is the first manufacturer to develop a light source that combines superior color rendering with reduction of harmful radiation. Promolux lamps apply Balanced Spectrum technology, a proprietary phosphor-coating process that produces a natural, balanced light and filters out damaging ultraviolet, infrared and visible spectrum wavelengths.

How Can Stores Save Their Perishable Foods, Reduce Shrinkage & Their Impact on the Environment?

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

We all use lights and have a variety of lighting fixtures in our house but have you ever really stopped to think about the lighting industry in greater detail?  The lighting industry is more than just fancy lights and light fixtures for households

When asked what people think of when they think of lighting & the lighting industry most individuals responded by saying household lighting.  While the household fixtures represent a sizeable portion of the lighting market share, there are other segments of the market that are commanding more of the industry’s attention. 

For example, the commercial lighting industry that services the needs of large supermarkets, independent grocery stores, butcher shops and bakery shops.  Why is this market so different?  What special needs do these grocery stores have and how is lighting filling this niche market

To begin with the need for specialty lighting is very significant for supermarkets especially when it comes to designing a new layout for their store.  A store has many perishable food display cases and self-serve cases.  These display cases have different requirements when it comes to lighting and the type of lighting installed can mean a cost difference of thousands of dollars.

The first and foremost reason that a department manager needs to be concerned with what type of lighting they install in their perishable cases is because it is well documented that lighting causes oxidization of perishable products.  The UV radiation from lighting (visible and non-visible spectrum) can cause meat to turn color and dry out decreasing the value and integrity of that product.  Then there is the potential danger of bacteria growth which can be encouraged under the wrong lighting, again a concern of many department managers.

If a supermarket makes the wrong decision and installs incorrect lighting that was not specifically designed for perishable applications the end result will be sizable shrinkage (spoiled food that must be thrown out) and the dollar value loss associated with losing the sale and then having to throw out the spoiled product.

So what foods are affected by the effects of lighting?

Perishable foods including fruits and vegetables, deli meats, deli salads, cheeses, and packaged meat are the most severely affected by poor lighting.  Dairy products like milk may be affected as well as many other beverages including beer and wine, the only difference with beverages is that the type of packaging plays a key role in just how much oxidization of the product occurs.

Stores are becoming more conscious of their in-store practices and their need to increase product integrity.  Supermarkets spend thousands of dollars to get the customer through their doors, they spend thousands of dollars on store design and in-store advertising, all aimed at increasing sales and appealing to the customer.  As a consumer what is one of the first factors that influences your decision to buy a specific product?

That’s right, the appearance of the product. 

Your meat should look red, juicy and tender, not dark or brown, hard and dry.  Your salads should be fresh looking and maintain their moistness and freshness, the same thing for cheese, the color should be vibrant not faded and should be moist, not dry.

So what are the options store department managers have when it comes to increasing the integrity and quality of their perishable products?  First the department managers are responsible for convincing their store managers of the necessity for installing lighting that has been specifically designed for food applications, lighting like Promolux Balanced Spectrum low radiation lamps.

By installing lamps that are designed to reduce and eliminate those portions of the UV radiation the department manager is ensuring that his/her customers receive the freshest product while reducing their loss of shrinkage.  Supermarkets that are utilizing the products and technology available to them have the advantage over other supermarkets that are still deciding how they will manage their in-store operations and design. 

The importance of specialty lighting and energy management systems can mean the difference between a profit or a loss in a department but it could mean more than that, the consumer is looking to these supermarket giants as industry leaders who need to set an example and make a firm commitment to solving their in-store challenges in an efficient and eco-friendly way.  Throwing away tons of spoiled food is not an eco-friendly operation especially when it could have been prevented by installing the correct lights in the display case.
 

About Supermarket Lighting and Shelf Life

Monday, August 6th, 2007

Promolux Safe Spectrum lighting helps keep food displays appealing and safe on the shelf.

Supermarket customers pay a lot of attention to selecting food for flavor and nutrition, and most of us assume that food from the supermarket shelf are both palatable and safe. Describing foods as diverse, complex and active systems, in which microbiological, chemical, enzymatic and physicochemical reactions can simultaneously take place, T. P. Labuza, food chemist from the University of Minnesota, points to a complex challenge all retailers of perishable foods face: that of delivering to discerning consumers a range of top quality food products that are always subject to deterioration and damage from the environment.

Grocers use the term to describe a period of time that a perishable food remains marketable acceptable enough for consumers to make the purchase. Many fresh foods are marked with an expiry date, after which the store can no longer guarantee the safety of the foods. Expiry dates are really educated predictions based upon data gathered from experience and knowledge of specific conditions and give consumers a general indicator of freshness.

Food retailers know that a longer shelf life means better profits, so providing optimal storage conditions for fresh foods like fruit and vegetables, meats, fish, and bakery products is of prime importance in the grocery industry. A lot of money is spent creating and maintaining well-lit, attractive displays, but the visual appeal may not last long enough. Changes inevitably occur in foods displayed on the shelf.

For retailers to effectively maintain the quality of perishable foods and to protect food safety, Labuza says, they require three things: understanding of these reactions, the influence of the environment and the successful limitation of the ones most responsible for spoilage or loss of desirable characteristics.

Deterioration of perishable food is accelerated when foods are on display, due especially to exposure to heat and light. Commercial lighting is often a source of retail food storage problems that mean shorter shelf life and wasted food. When exposure to light and heat are controlled, photo oxidation and loss of nutrients can be reduced. The correct supermarket lighting can reduce supermarket losses and translate directly into better profits for a more viable business.

Specialty lighting designed specifically for the food industry should meet stringent criteria of both low heat emissions and low levels of UV radiation. Promolux balanced spectrum lamps fulfill the expectations. Compared with everyday fluorescent and incandescent lighting products, Promolux lamps emit lower levels of heat, less ultraviolet radiation and reduced levels of damaging visible spectrum radiation.

Commercial lighting and heat emissions.

Bacterial contamination can occur at any stage in the food delivery chain and at a low level is not considered particularly harmful. Even though refrigerated cabinets and chilled ice beds are used to extend the shelf life of dairy products, meat, seafood and other fresh foods, commercial light fixtures can radiate enough heat to accelerate bacterial growth.

Bacterial growth must be controlled, especially when foods are left to sit on the supermarket shelf under hot lamps, where organisms can multiply rapidly to a toxic level capable of causing food poisoning in humans. Because Promolux food safe lamps emit less heat than everyday lamps,  bacterial growth is controlled and drying and shrinkage reduced.

Commercial lighting and ultraviolet emissions

Ultraviolet  light is electromagnetic radiation not visible to the human eye. UV radiation from artificial lighting can be responsible for photochemical changes that occur in the lipids, or fat, components of meats and other foods. Lipid oxidation causes off-flavors and eventually rancidity. UV radiation also damages sensitive food color pigments and other additives and leads to fading or discoloration and loss of visual appeal.

Both fresh bulk foods and packaged foods deteriorate while displayed under retail lighting. J. C. Acton from Clemson University, SC, advised that while modified atmosphere packaging or use of barrier films may reduce the rate of product deterioration, lighting environments, similar to temperature environments, will provide energy for oxidation to occur.

Many products are extremely sensitive to not only the UV portion of the lighting spectrum but also to light energy from certain portions of the visible spectral region. Yellow and green wavelengths predominate in everyday bright fluorescent lighting and cause color distortions.

Superior Lighting Solutions

Since shoppers generally prefer food items that look the freshest and most natural, and expect their purchases to retain their fresh food flavors and appearance for a reasonable time at home in the refrigerator, retailers should install Promolux lighting as part of their ongoing food safety strategy.

Promolux full balanced spectrum lighting is designed for true color definition and to maximize the shelf life of foods displayed for sale. Promolux is engineered to reduce the rates of growth of microbial pathogens by controlling levels of both visible and invisible emissions, to display fresh foods with their full balanced range of color, and to extend the shelf life of all perishable foods.

Bakery Showcase Lighting

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Promolux Low Radiation Lighting is Food Safe and Profitable for Bakery and Food Display Cases

Baked goods, donuts gourmet baked goods, baked cookies, cakes  birthday cakes, wedding cakes displayed under any kind of lighting fixture for bakery display cases will always suffer damage from the effects of heat and light radiation caused particularly by the infrared, and ultraviolet lights.

Safe Spectrum lamps reduce radiation while maintaining spectacular true color definition of all your fresh bakery goods in bakery shops.

Food Safety and Shelf Life is Serious Business

Changes in appearance, taste and smell quickly become evident in bakery goods displayed under lights.  Exposure to light and oxygen causes lipid oxidation, resulting in discoloration and dryness.  The loss of fresh baked fragrance and crispness not only make baked goods unappealing, but have been proven to indicate diminishing nutritional value, chemical changes and potential acceleration of the growth of dangerous pathogens such as bacteria and mold.

Temperatures above 70°F can cause a white film to form on the surface of chocolate and undesirable chemical reactions can occur in as little as four minutes of exposure to direct sunlight or four hours of exposure to fluorescent lighting.  UV and visible spectrum radiation emitted by conventional bakery display case lighting accelerate the growth of food borne pathogens in confections containing eggs and dairy products, even when the desserts are refrigerated and can ultimately produce the danger of food poisoning. Independent laboratory tests conducted at the University of Zaragoza confirmed that refrigerated bakery products displayed under Promolux lighting have lower surface temperatures and suffer less heat and radiation damage. Lower levels of pathogen growth means that fresh food are safer and have a longer shelf life.

Outstanding Bakery Displays and Merchandising

The pioneer in true and natural color definition lighting, PROMOLUX lighting gives retailers the ultimate merchandising advantage for fresh bakery displays. Unlike general purpose lighting, the balanced full spectrum does not distort colors with too much yellow or green.  Under color balanced lamps, all colors are more vibrant and appealing. 

Approved by health officials for all food displays, PROMOLUX lamps filter damaging radiation, protecting the appearance and flavor of delicate bakery goods and ensuring food safety.