Specialty Lighting Solutions for Fresh Meat Displays
When considering Promolux lighting, we always recommend beginning with service and self-serve meat cases because the investment in product in these types of cases is very high. Furthermore, as it is perishable, any discoloration, dehydration, or degradation of the product is noticeable immediately.
Promolux lighting showcases fresh meat in the best possible light, attracting customers to your displays, while at the same time minimizing the damage caused by regular lighting and temperature changes.
Gourmet and Specialty Fresh Meat Display Case Lighting
Improper fresh food retail lighting impacts meat displays in several ways. First, “regular” fluorescents and LED lighting can alter the color, smell, flavor, of meat and increase the rapid rate of spoilage significantly affecting the salesability of that item.
The popularity of organic foods has even transcended into the meat showcases of butchers and gourmet meat shops and delicatessens.
Organic meats are now prominently on display and with fewer preservatives, they are even more sensitive to the effects of case lighting.
Gourmet food retail shoppers are more likely than ever to select meat based on its color and freshness. In fact, many studies have shown that color is the primary means by which consumers judge meat juiciness, tenderness and flavor.
Fresh Meat Displays
Farm fresh butcher shops and local grocery stores can extend the shelf life of their meat products and add to the sales value and profitability of the case by using a food light like Promolux which is specifically engineered for fresh food retail displays. Promolux fluorescent lights and LEDs designed for meat lighting, protect the bloom, the natural juices and flavor of assorted meat products, and processed and cured meats, ensuring shoppers are more satisfied with their purchase.
Color of Fresh Pork in Meat Department Merchandisers
Pork color was found to be a major consideration for consumers in their decision to buy pork cuts.The color of fresh pork in meat department merchandisers was found to be a major consideration for consumers in their decision to buy pork cuts. Fresh pork is optimally pink. In one study, darker colored pork was preferred over pale pork, and consumers tended to avoid brown or grey pork which was interpreted as spoiled or old, even though this discoloration occurs long before the meat is spoiled in most cases.
Paler cuts of pork are thought to be tough and dry when cooked. Neither extreme of pale or dark is ideal and both are considered problems in the pork industry caused by genetics and the handling of the pig before and after slaughter.
Both PSE pork (pale, soft, and exudative or oozing) and DFD pork (dark, firm, and dry) can be affected by the amount of water in and on the pork cut. This water escapes from meat with a low pH (< 5.4) and can scatter light, making the pork appear to be lighter than it really is. In addition, oxygen permeable polyvinyl wrapping causes DFD pork to appear darker than if it is in vacuum packaging, and less appealing than medium pink pork cuts. Consumers tended to avoid pale and wet pork, preferring cuts that were medium or dark pink and then within that category preferring the dryer cuts.
Color of Fresh Poultry in Refrigerated Supermarket Display Cases
Raw chicken and turkey can come in a range of colors including bluish white, yellow, pale tan, and pink.The color of fresh poultry in refrigerated supermarket display cases can vary widely. Raw chicken and turkey can come in a range of colors including bluish white, yellow, pale tan, and pink, depending upon the part of the bird and the bird’s diet, age, breed, amount of fat, and exercise habits.
However, different light sources affect the perceived color of the poultry because they have different spectral components, so the same chicken part can appears to be several different colors. For example, a panel described a chicken leg as pink or red when it was under an incandescent light, brown when under a fluorescent light, and brown to purple under a metal halide light.
Since many studies have found that color is one of the fundamental factors consumers consider when purchasing chicken and turkey, it is vital that the poultry be displayed in lighting that does not hide its fresh appearance.
Color of Cured Meats in Grocery Store Merchandisers
Curing solutions, which are injected into the meat with a needle or rubbed on the surface of raw meat, usually contain nitric oxide (NO) which reacts with the meat pigment myoglobin to form nitric oxide myoglobin (MbNO), also known as nitrosylmyoglobin or nitrosomyoglobin, a bright red pigment. Even a small amount of nitrite, such as the amount left on an improperly cleaned utensil, can cause the nitric oxide myoglobin pigment to form on other meats such as cooked beef.
This pigment is not very stable, however. If the cured meat is exposed to display light and oxygen, the pigment becomes oxidized and breaks down, forming metmyoglobin nitrite and turning the cured meat gray. Heat can also contribute to nitrite burn, a series of three chemical reactions in which metmyoglobin nitrite reacts with excess nitrous acid to form nitrimetmyoglobin, which reduces to nitrimyoglobin (MbN), which in turn becomes the green pigment nitrihemin when exposed to heat. The green/gray color of cured meats can also be triggered when the meat is contaminated by metals from moulds or smoke sticks.
To stabilize the color, cured meats are often vacuum packaged, and one study recommended storing the meat in the dark prior to display. Protecting cured meats from harmful visible spectrum and ultraviolet light, elevated temperatures, and oxygen can help prevent cured meats from turning gray or green.
Ultraviolet and visible spectrum light can also cause the color of cured products (raw or cooked) to fade to a degree in proportion to the intensity of the light multiplied by the length of exposure to light beginning at 200 foot candle hours.
Cured meats such as hams are very sensitive to the effects of ultraviolet light.Cured meats such as hams are very sensitive to the effects of ultraviolet light. The typical pale gray color of raw hams is directly related to pigment transformation and fading triggered by the radiation from ultraviolet and visible spectrum light. With prolonged exposure to light (UV and visible light), oxygen, and the salts and chemicals in the cure, raw cured meats break down chemically and spoil, turning green in the process.
The cured color is much more stable after the meat has been cooked because this process changes the pigment nitric oxide myoglobin to the pink pigment nitric oxide myochromogen, also known as nitrosylmyochrome, nitrosohemochrome, or nitrosylhemochrome. However, the pigment of cooked cured meat is still very sensitive to the discoloring effects of light, temperature, and oxygen, and even cooked cured meats tend to be sold in vacuum packages.
Frozen bacon has a short shelf life compared to other frozen meats because it is sensitive to various oxidative reactions which affect the bacon’s color, appearance, and flavor. The pigment in bacon, nitric oxide myoglobin, reacts with sodium nitrite to form the grey pigment metmyoglobin nitrite, a process that is accelerated by high levels of the salt sodium chloride especially in leaner bacon.
Color and Meat Freshness in Grocery Store Display Cases
Impulse buying accounts for over a third of all meat purchases from self service meat cases according to one study, and this in turn is related to the visual appeal of the meat. Several studies have found that the most appealing cuts of meat are those that are the leanest, and then those that are the brightest in color, which customers interpret as an indicator of freshness.
One study found that over 40% of interviewees judged the freshness of meat by its color. Various surveys have shown that consumers in Colorado considered the color of the muscle and fat to be the most important indictor of quality, while in Missouri consumers interpreted the color of the lean tissue as an indicator of freshness or age. If the meat does not appear to be fresh, customers will not buy it.
When it comes to fresh meat merchandising and protection there is simply no other lamp that can compare to Promolux.
|Click here for a study on the effects of Promolux lighting on the shelf life of ground beef patties|