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Meat under LED lights fare better than fluorescent lights: Study

July 1, 2015: Grocery stores operate at slim profit margins. Researchers at the University of Missouri are finding ways to extend the shelf life of ground beef. They have found that store lighting plays a role in how long meat retains the bright red color that shoppers favor. After price, consumers consider color when buying meat.

Mizzou meat scientist Bryon Wiegand said discolored meat accounts for an estimated $1 million in lost revenue annually due to markdowns. And those markdowns have become increasingly costly: Increased demand and reduced supply have pushed retail ground chuck prices to an average of $5.76 per pound. The price gap between premium-priced meats and lower-quality ground product continues to narrow as consumers increasingly prefer ground beef for convenience, Wiegand said.

One more day on the shelf

Ground beef?s shelf life is about three days. Extending that by even a single day can make a big difference. That?s partly because shoppers typically fall into two main categories: planners, who shop for the week?s meals Sunday night, and demand shoppers, who shop Thursday to Saturday. That leaves a day in the middle of the week when ground beef can lose its red appeal and retailers can lose sales.

Changes in meat color and odor result from a variety of causes, including fat content, packaging and exposure to oxygen. Heat from store lighting in display cases also causes color fade.

Wiegand and others at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and MU Extension are studying how retailers can keep beef on the shelf a day longer before it?s discounted for quick sale. The National Cattlemen?s Association and Mizzou Advantage fund the study.

Wiegand and colleague Carol Lorenzen studied meat color changes under fluorescent and LED lights. Colors were compared against a control group with no light exposure. Meat not subjected to light kept its red color better than either, but meat under LED lights fared better than fluorescent-lit ground beef.

Fluorescent lights produced higher temperatures than LED lights and meat turned brown quicker. Wiegand?s information may help retailers reduce losses as low supply and high demand intersect. ?If beef is the new gold, let?s do our best to preserve it for the consumer that stays loyal to its purchase,? he said

Source: Press release


None of the facts and figures mentioned in the story have been created by BizLED.co.in. BizLED is not responsible for any factual errors.


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One comment

  1. The color of the Kelvin temperature of light, and the absence of Ultraviolet in the beam determine the look of freshness of the meat or produce. Attention to these features has been going on as long as artificial light has been used in food stores. Moreover, there are at least seven energy-efficient alternatives to LEDs, one of which could provide a better solution for a specific application.

    Gersil N. Kay

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