Lighting for Fresh Produce Displays

With the correct lighting your produce will spring to life and appear richer and irresistibly fresh, with just-picked colours.

Eye appeal is buy appeal.

Research has shown that consumers base the freshness, flavor, and food safety of fresh food products on the item's colour and perceived appearance. Nothing brings out the appearance of freshness in fruit and vegetables like correct lighting.

Produce displays need an exceptionally rich light that reveals the true, vibrant colours of the produce, without damaging the fruit or causing premature spoilage.

Traditional fluorescent lighting is often too bright, creates washed out colours and causes increased food deterioration.


  To find out more about our Fresh Produce Display Solutions scroll down the page: 




The Problems with Traditional Fluorescent Lighting




Digitally simulated images to show
the effect on colour of incorrect
and correct lighting

  • Many vegetables grow underground and are exposed to light for the first time when they are put on display in your produce department. Other items like leeks and celery are shielded from light during the growing process.
  • The UV and visible spectrum of display lighting can increase the surface temperature of displayed produce and initiate or enhance chemical and organic processes that change the appearance, texture and flavour of the fruits and vegetables.
  • In todays competitive market produce retailers need to add that "WOW" factor with brilliant, colourful displays and outstanding freshness. However, in many supermarket applications the lighting is often, inadvertently, installed at the sacrifice of colour.
  • Most supermarket fluorescent lighting is biased to enhance green and yellow colours. While the yellow and green spectrum tends to offer strong illumination, it is at the sacrifice of full vibrant colours. Other colours such as red and white appear faded and discoloured. They are not as bright as they should be. For example, strawberries tend to look dull and radishes appear faded.
  • Heat, ultraviolet radiation and the yellow/green segments of the visible spectrum from traditional supermarket fluorescent lighting are the main causes of product deterioration. These will hastens the ripening process, exacerbate loss from dehydration, cause premature wilting, spoilage and shrinkage. Leafy green vegetables like lettuce and soft fruits dehydrate easily and can be the greatest source of loss.
  • Regular display lighting can cause some root vegetables to continue to grow, including carrots, beets and parsnips.
  • Bulbs such as onions, garlic and shallots begin to sprout when exposed to light, and the outer layers turn green. Tender bean sprouts and other sprouting seeds also continue to grow, becoming tough
  • Most of these effects can be minimised with correct lighting.

Premature Ripening of Produce from Ethylene Gas


  • Although fruits are often harvested before they are ripe, with prolonged exposure to UV and visible spectrum radiation emitted by most standard retail fluorescent lighting, bananas, berries and apricots become prematurely overripe.
  • In the ripening process of these items, ethylene gas is released, which in turn initiates ripening in nearby fruits. Eventually this gas will lead to decay and rot.
  • Nearby fruits that are particularly susceptible include stone fruits such as apricots, peaches, and cherries.
  • This is why many produce retailers display their bananas in separate Produce Bins. Half Circle Produce Bins are also available for this purpose.
  • Ethylene can also make bulb vegetables such as onions spoil prematurely, and turn soft fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries mushy and unsaleable.


Ideally these susceptible fruits and vegetables should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from the adverse effects of lighting sources. When they need to be displayed, the ripening process will be slower if the correct lighting is used.

Potato Greening in Produce Displays



  • Light causes potatoes to turn green and accelerates the production of solanine, a poisonous and potentially fatal toxin. Under traditional supermarket display lighting, solanine levels can increase tenfold.
  • The solanine is present within 3mm of the surface of the potato with the highest concentrations in the eyes or sprouts.
  • This natural pioson is nature's way of protecting the plant from insects and other enemies.
  • The quantity of solanine in a potato can vary depending on the potatoes variety, age or maturity, and temperature, as well as the duration, intensity and quality of light exposure.
  • Commercially grown potatoes are now genetically controlled to have lower initial concentrations of solanine, but when potatoes are exposed to light, solanine levels can rise up to ten times their original value.
  • Most supermarket lighting can induce potato greening in 12 hours to 5 days depending on the type of potato, the light permeability of the packaging and the ambient temperature. Potato greening occurs most quickly at a room temperature of 20 degrees Centigrade and in potatoes with thin skins.
  • Moisture on the potatoes intensifies the effects of the light.
  • Boiling or steaming green potatoes prevents more solanine from forming but it only removes 30-40% of the solanine that has already formed.
  • Correct lighting can minimise the greening of potatoes.

The Correct Lighting for Produce Displays

  • By using balanced spectrum and low UV lighting many of the negative effects of traditional fluorescent lighting can be minimised.
  • The correct lighting for produce displays filter the damaging parts of the light spectrum.
  • The colours of the fruits and vegetables appear true and vibrant. Shrinkage is minimised. Their shelf life is extended by up to 50%. And, most importantly, your produce displays look their best with greater shopper appeal and customer satisfaction.
  • Balanced spectrum, low UV lighting will also help minimise the problem of greening potatoes.   
  • Low UV lamps will slow the ripening process caused by ethylene gas. 
  • For displays of produce packaged using clear film, canopy and under-shelf lighting can be fitted with diffusers to minimise reflections and glare

Please Note


The information contained on this page is provided for the general interest of our customers. We do not sell lighting. Nor do we provide advice on the correct lighting suitable for individual stores.

Customers should seek professional advice on lighting from an experienced lighting supplier or store designer.

It is beyond the scope of this web site to enter into discussions on lighting suitable for produce retailers.