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Refrigeration Cases Pose Unique Merchandising Challenges

The Challenge of Merchandising with Open Refrigerated Cases

Refrigeration cases are an important element in any successful merchandising program. Refrigerated display cases are designed to keep perishable items at their ideal storage temperatures while allowing customers unrestricted access to their contents.

vertical refrigerated display caseThe nature of refrigerated showcases calls for additional light sources to placed within the case itself - ensuring that all of the contents are easily visible to consumers. The necessary light sources and open-faced designs of refrigerated displays can be problematic. The ambient air, light, and heat of the store environment often intermixes with the environment inside the refrigeration case.

The free-access design of most island, coffin, and multi-deck refrigerated casings also means that a significant amount of refrigerated air is consistently lost. In addition, the perishable merchandise is often compromised by the light and heat emanated by the light sources within the display case.

Bottom Line Challenges

Food Safety Challenges

Food safety is a real concern for the food retail industry. Each year there are stories of recalls and illnesses and stores and food processors struggle to survive it's deadly path.

While most food saftey risks will occur during the process-chain before reaching the store level, store themselves are never out of the clear. Department managers and store personnel must work hard to reduce any exposure that may contribute to a breach of food safety.

Both night covers and low radiation lamps provide store staff with another tool that can be effectively used to meet their food safety objectives. Night covers deflect radiated heat and light away from perishable items inside a case. Furthermore, they also create more stable case and product temperatures which improve overall product integrity.

Low radiation lighting automatically filters out a significant portion of visible and non-visible radiation within the cases. Because of the close proximity of lights to perishable items, using low radiaiton lighting is one of the best things retailers can do. Perishable items that are exposed to heat and light suffer from photo and lipid oxidation. The growth rate of bacteria rapidly accelerates and the food safety of thes items is quickly compromised. However, installing low radiation lamps ensures greater protection and helps mitigate the food safety risk.

Energy Conservation Challenges

Choosing the right case lighting will also improve the efficiency of the case. Inferior lamps generate a lot of heat and consume a lot of energy creating a dual strain on refrigeration display equipment. The majority of vertical refrigerated displays in the grocery industry need to operate within 28-32 degrees Fahreheit. Variations in temperature outside this range can be quite dangerous and costly to both the retailer and the consumer.

The grocery industry has shifted away from using energy-inefficient T12 fluorescents opting for more energy-efficient lamps like T8's, T5's and even PLL40's (compact fluorescents often used for overhead lighting systems).

Night covers are another tool that retailers use as a way to cut operating costs, improve the efficiency and strain on the refrigeration equipment while conserving energy and reducing their carboon footprint on the environment. Most stores located in areas with energy rates between .10 cents per kwh and .17 cents will realize the most in energy savings with lower monthly utility bills.

For areas with even higher electricity rates (Hawaii and Latin America) the cost of installing night covers is typically recovered within months!

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