Use of light-emitting diode lights in refrigeration units could save meat retailers millions of dollars every year, according to new research conducted by Kansas State University scientists.
The study concluded that LED lights in refrigeration units saves energy and extends the shelf life of some beef products. Extending color shelf life affords retailers the opportunity to sell product at full price, said Kyle Steele, recent master's graduate in animal sciences and industry, in a news release.
The study compared LED lights and fluorescent lights, the latter of which is widely used by retailers.
Steele and his team looked at five different meat products — pork loin chops, beef loin steaks, ground beef, ground turkey and beef inside round steaks — in refrigeration units with both types of lighting and studied discoloration, rancidity and operating efficiency.
"Most meat products displayed under LED lighting had colder internal product temperatures, which helps extend product shelf life," Steele said. "Beef loin steaks and inside round steaks that were stored under LED lights can have up to one day longer shelf life."
In terms of operational costs, LED lights had fewer cycles per running hour, making them a more efficient and cost-saving light source than fluorescent lights.
Kyle's thesis is available electronically through the KSU library and K-REx here.