Refrigerated Cheese Displays in Grocery and Cheese Store Showcases
Cheese is light sensitive but is often packaged in clear wrapping, which leaves the cheese vulnerable to color fading and discoloration. When exposed to UV radiation, unpackaged feta will develop an off-flavor and may turn yellow.
Promolux fluorescent lamps and LED lighting minimize the emission of damaging visible spectrum and UV wavelengths and thus reduce shrinkage.
Photodegradation of Mold Retardant in Retail Cheese Displays
Natamycin is an antimicrobial mold inhibitor added to the surfaces of retail cheeses to prolong the shelf life of cheeses, especially those with large surface areas that are most vulnerable to mold growth such as sliced or shredded cheese.
However, Natamycin quickly degrades when exposed to the ultraviolet radiation emitted by the supermarket fluorescent lighting commonly used in retail dairy display cases.
Promolux full balanced spectrum lamps and LEDs emit much lower levels of UV and harmful visible spectrum radiation than other display case fluorescent bulbs, preserving the effectiveness of Natamycin and thus preventing the growth of mold on grated and sliced cheeses treated with Natamycin.
“I’ve been working with the Promolux lights, and while this is still very preliminary work, it seems that your lights are doing a fine job of protecting the Natamycin. The first run I preformed was with regular fluorescent lights with about 1000 lux and the Natamycin had degraded to almost undetectable amounts within 24 hours. The same experiment was run, but this time using the Promolux lights, and resulted, even after 24 hours, fully intact Natamycin, which is great!”
Vanessa Elizabeth Teter, Masters Candidate, Food Science Virginia Tech
Discoloration of Supermarket Cheese Displays
UV and visible spectrum radiation from supermarket fluorescent display case lighting triggers photochemical reactions that cause the bright colors of food dyes used in some cheeses to fade. While many dairy products are now sold in opaque packaging, this is not as effective as transparent containers for marketing purposes.
Cheese is light sensitive but is often packaged in clear wrapping, which leaves the cheese vulnerable to color fading and discoloration. This is most noticeable when yellow and orange cheeses are removed from their packages. The surfaces that were exposed to light have become faded, while the sides and bottoms that were against other cheese blocks and the portions that were protected by labels retain the original darker color.
Feta cheese is sometimes displayed in open containers in self-service cheese cases. When exposed to UV radiation in this way, feta will develop an off-flavor and may turn yellow.
If discoloration and color fading are combined with the effect most supermarket fluorescent lights have of emphasizing yellow and green and thus distorting the true colors of cheese displays, retail cheese displays can look quite bland with products that shy away from shoppers eyes.
Promolux balanced color spectrum lamps, on the other hand, reveal the vibrant colors of cheese displays while emitting lower levels of the harmful radiation that causes colors to fade.
Cheese Spoilage in Grocery Store and Cheese Shop Cabinets
When cheese is exposed to sunlight or to the fluorescent lighting commonly found in dairy display cases, the light initiates two chemical reactions which result in off-flavors and the loss of nutrients. Whey proteins, composed of amino acids containing sulfur, degrade and break down, producing “sunlight” flavors reminiscent of burnt feathers or burnt hair that can last for two to three days. In the second reaction, unsaturated fatty acids in milk lipids (milkfat triglycerides / triacylglycerols) become oxidized, producing malodorous carbonyl compounds that taste metallic or cardboardy and do not dissipate.
In as little as two hours of exposure to UV and damaging visible spectrum radiation, the fat in cheese can become rancid. While many dairy products are now sold in opaque packaging, this is not as effective as transparent containers for marketing purposes.
Unwrapped cheese displayed in self-service cheese cases, such as feta, are extremely sensitive to lipid oxidation. When exposed in this way, feta will develop an off-flavor and may turn yellow.
Factors that affect the rate of flavor change and nutrient loss are the intensity of the light, the wavelengths present in the light, the distance between the fluorescent light bulb and the cheese, the material of the container, the amount of surface area exposed to the light, the temperature of the cheese, and the duration of light exposure.
We recently purchased L70T8 Promolux bulbs for our dairy display case and are pleased with their performance. We are very concerned about the high levels of UV radiation emitted by fluorescent bulbs. Additionally this type of radiation causes vitamin degradation, off flavor development, and the “pinking affect” in cheddar cheese. These problems have been eliminated when we installed your Promolux merchandising lights in our dairy case.
The light emitted from your Promolux bulbs is very appealing and makes our dairy product display case very attractive for our customers. We continue to receive positive customer feedback from our customers. I recommend Promolux bulbs to food companies that provide dairy products in their display cases.
Thomas Palchak, Penn State Berkey Creamery
Promolux True Color Definition Lamps
Promolux food display lighting not only minimizes the damaging effects of visible spectrum and UV wavelengths, it also reduces shrinkage from fading and discoloration and loss of moisture in cheese displays when compared to the shrinkage levels of the display merchandised under “regular” fluorescents.
Keep your specialty cheese displays looking their best and most appealing without affecting the taste and flavor of each unique item by switching your display case lights to Promolux.
Contact us right now by email to learn more about how Promolux lights can really help your business to stand out and increase sales!