Lighting is a featured player in every retail drama. And the essential role has been the subject of a serious recast over the last half-dozen years, with LED technologies sweeping onto the scene to replace their metal halide, fluorescent and halogen predecessors.
Certainly, the advent of LED has been worth celebrating for the cost savings it’s delivered to a retail operation—LEDs are five to 10 times more efficient than halogen lighting and between 1.2 and 1.4 times more efficient than HID and fluorescent fixtures. Considering that in-store lighting accounts for about 50% of non-food retailers’ overall energy costs, these savings are meaningful. No wonder Target’s scored more than a 25% energy reduction from its LED lighting overhaul.
But LED lighting, new research reveals, can lay claim to another, more unexpected benefit beyond those felt in the wallet. Scientists at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have just released the results of a study that found that milk stored in coolers lit by LED lights actually tastes better than its fluorescent-lit counterparts.
That, the university declared in a statement released with its findings, is because riboflavin, a nutrient in milk, oxidizes when it’s exposed to fluorescent lights. This, in turn, changes milk’s taste and reduces its nutritional content. More alarming still, the researchers found that milk stored in traditional translucent plastic jugs can experience those reactions in as little as two hours.
Given the LED alternative, consumers described the taste of fluorescent-exposed milk as “cardboard,” “stale” and “painty.”
Ick. Bring on the newer technology.