The right light ‘helps cheese last 50% longer’

SUPERMARKET lighting with the specially designed ‘light recipes’ can extend the shelf life of  cheese by 50 per cent, says Signify.

Signify – the company formerly known as Philips Lighting – has tuned the spectrum and intensity of the lights to slow discolouration of meat and oxidation of cheese, which affects the appearance, taste and smell.

Signify sees the technology as a way to help supermarkets reduce food waste, control costs and provide the best experience in their fresh food sections, which is a key battleground in the war with online retail.

The right kind of light can slow the breakdown of compounds such as sugars, vitamins and proteins, so that foods last longer and keep their colour.

Unlike lights that simply make products appear a more attractive colour, such as the red-tinted ‘meat lamps’ that are widely used in supermarkets and butchers, Signify’s light recipes actually help preserve the product itself.

The company sees the technology as a way to help supermarkets reduce food waste, control costs and provide the best experience in their fresh food sections, which is a key battleground in the war with online retail.

The products are already being used in a number of European countries by supermarket chains including Plus, Edeka and Real.

Signify claims the light recipes, Fresh Food Rose for meats and Fresh Food Champagne for cheeses, can increase the shelf life of sliced meat by 20 per cent and cheese by 50 per cent, in comparison with the spectrum of white SON products.

The recipes are available in special light modules for Signify’s range of accent lighting products including StyliD Evo and CustomCreate.

Although there are no hygiene or health problems with meat that has turned brown from exposure to light, the colour can put customers off buying the product.

It’s estimated that 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted every year, including a lot of food that is still good to eat, but just doesn’t look its best.

And regulations are getting tighter: already in France, retailers face fines for throwing away food that hasn’t yet reached its sell-by date.

Simone Poort, an application scientist in Signify’s R&D team, told Lux: ‘We have two main parameters we can tune: the light spectrum and the light intensity.

‘This combination leads to the most optimal light recipe. For sliced meat the issue is discoloration – sometimes in a store you’ll see that the top package is discoloured and people pick the package below.

‘That leads to waste, because the quality is still good, it’s just the appearance that’s hampered, so that’s something you want to avoid. With Fresh Food Rose we can slow down discoloration and therefore extend the shelf life and reduce waste.’

 

  • Learn more about light recipes at the LuxLive 2019 exhibition, taking place at London ExCeL on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2019. Entry is free - see the full programme and register for free HERE.

 

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