How to Choose Supermarket Lighting? The Definitive Guide

This guide will help you choose to light for supermarkets. We’ve discussed all the aspects of supermarket lighting design based on sound research. 

Table of Contents

Supermarket lighting can create a unique image in the mind of customers prompting them to buy more products. A common misconception is that the brighter the light, the more effective it is, but this is not true. 

An effective lighting design is customer-centric and uses colors, temperatures, rendering index, lighting layers, and proper placement intelligently.

Don’t know how to achieve this? No worries! We’ve got you covered. In this article, we discuss how you can choose lighting for the supermarket in an easy way. Let’s dive into it. 

Lighting Drives Sales in The Supermarket 

Supermarket Lighting Design

Before we get into details of adequate supermarket lighting, it’s pivotal to understand why it’s so important.

In 2014, a European study found the subtle yet significant effect lighting has on sales and customer behavior in the retail industry. Similarly, another research shows how lighting, sound, and scent can drive more activity in the supermarket. 

Moreover, introducing daylighting and energy-efficient LED lighting can increase the profit margin by up to 40%.

So, if you want your business to succeed, investing in quality lighting design is critical. 

8 Things to Consider While Choosing Lighting for Supermarkets 

1.   Supermarket Lighting Requirements 

Supermarket lighting varies depending on the type, time, and location of the place. A better way to get an idea of proper lighting is by adopting supermarket lighting standards given by Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). 

Here we’ve presented lighting standards mentioned in IESNA Lighting Handbook. Use these to design lighting for your business. 

The lighting requirements are in footcandles, lumens, or lux, all units for quantifying brightness

The following tables give supermarket lighting requirements based on customer activity.

High activity means people buy these products in bulk, and no assistance is required. 

Medium activity refers to the merchandise that customers spend time on. 

Low-activity areas are designated for premium and luxury items. Customers usually take their time to select the best product. 

Area  Activity  footcandles (fc) per area lux 
Hallways, moving area High 30 323
Medium 20 215
Low 10 107
Merchandise display, vertical shelves High  100 1076
Medium 75 807
Low 30 322
Showcases, feature High  500 5380
display Medium 300 3229
  Low  150 1614
Daytime lighting  General  200 2152
Focused  1000 10760
Nighttime lighting  General  100-200 1700-2100
Focused 500-1000 5300-11000

2.   Fixture Layout  

All the luminaires should be placed 10 to 11 feet above the finished floor for proper light distribution. Always place the lamps between the aisles and not above shelves, as it can create unnecessary shadows.  Having reflective and glossy floors can also bring extra illumination to the lower ends of the shelves. 

3.   Color Temperature and CRI

Color temperature and CRI are the two most critical aspects of supermarket lighting design. Lighting temperatures range from warm yellow (2500 kelvin) to cool natural white light (5000 kelvin). 

Color rendering index (CRI) measures how well a light source brings out the actual color of any object. Sunlight has the highest rating of 100 CRI, while artificial lighting falls between 60 to 98. 

If you want fruits, vegetables, meat, and other items to look fresh and lively, the right temperature and CRI are necessary. We have the details in the later section. 

Fresh vegetables under the right light

4.   Supermarket Lighting Fixtures 

Fluorescent lights used to be a popular choice for supermarkets and shopping marts, but now many business owners are adopting LED lights owing to their better performance. 

Suspended and Track Lights

Typically, suspended and track lights are used to achieve the required level of illuminance in the supermarket.

Track lights have adjustable trims and angles, making them extremely practical and cost-effective in retail stores. 

The lights are usually placed in the middle of the aisle, and the light beams are symmetrical for even distribution. Installing end-shelf lights is also a good practice. 

Such fixtures also work well for high ceilings. You can adjust the cord length of these lights to be just 2 ft above the shelves for the best lighting. 

Recessed and Panel Lights 

Recessed lights have a minimal design and are best suited for general lighting. The fixture is hidden in the ceiling, so they are good if you want something simple and elegant. Panel lights give a more diffused, and even general lighting is best for more prominent places. LED Batten lights serve the same purpose and are an alternative to long fluorescent tube lights. Moreover,  linear lights provide the best light wash and even distribution. 


Spotlight fixtures are best if you want to showcase a particular merchandise or for promotion. These light fixtures can grab the customer’s attention, increasing sales. 

5.   High Contrasts

Higher contrast ratios result in more impulse buying. The contrast in lighting design means different brightness, colors, and temperatures for other areas. 

One example of creating contrast would be highlighting a product stand with bright spotlights directing the customers’ focus from other low-brightness areas. A 30:1 accent lighting to general lighting ratio makes the best focal point and is the recommended contrast ratio.

We recommend a 3:1 accent to general lighting ratio for signs, which is enough to grab attention and increase readability. 

Supermarket shelves with differences in light contrast

6.   Lighting Layers

An ideal supermarket lighting must have these four lighting layers. Using these in combination yields the best results. 

General Lighting

The general lighting should be adequate for easy and safe movement across the place. Use the lighting requirement table we’ve discussed above for reference. 

You can also use ambient lights, which utilize colors and temperatures to set the mood and vibe of the place. 

Accent Lighting 

Accent lighting design is used to highlight certain features. You can use tasks or spotlights to create interesting shadows on shelves, cardboard cut pieces, or a prop. Brands use these to promote their new products. 

Task Lighting 

Many supermarkets have designated work areas like cash counters and food or meat section where proper lighting is needed for workers and customers.  In such regions, general lighting may not be enough. 

Task areas should have a 3:1 task lighting to general lighting brightness ratio for easy and efficient work. It also helps people read tags, labels, register screens, and pin pads. 

Decorative Lighting 

Decorative lighting makes the place more visually appealing and attractive to customers. It makes people stay for more time resulting in higher sales. You have pendant lights, sconces, chandeliers, and table lamp fixtures for decor. These lights also create a unique signature look for a supermarket.

Brighter light in the fruit and vegetable area

7.   Reflection 

Another critical aspect of supermarket lighting is reflecting surfaces. The materials like aluminum, chrome, and mirrors highly reflect the light and, as a result, eliminate the shadows in stacks and racks. So, by just introducing highly reflective materials, you can make overall illumination better. 

Unnecessary reflection also brings glare which should be avoided. Always use lamps with higher glare reduction values. Shiny products are at higher risk of glare, so use low-voltage lamps in such places. 

8.   Reduce Energy Costs

Energy costs should be your primary concern. Supermarkets are active 24/7, and billing costs can quickly add up, eating away at your business profits. 

Use the lighting requirements and combination of the abovementioned lighting layers to install a cost-affecting design smartly. 

Some fixtures also emit a lot of heat which can damage perishable items in your grocery store. To prevent losses, use LED fixtures as they emit less heat and use 65% less energy than regular lights. 

Lighting Different Parts of Supermarket

A successful supermarket requires customer-centric lighting design. Here we discuss the basic requirement for lighting in each supermarket section, and at the end, there is a brief table that presents recommended temperatures and CRI for each place. 

Grocery Stores

The grocery section involves all the food and products packaged in boxes, bags,  and bottles. This is also the primary section where customers spend most of their time. 

Since these items are stacked vertically on tall shelves, a 2:1 vertical to horizontal illumination is necessary. If your light source gives off 300 lux on the flat floors, then the vertical luminance must be 600 lux or more.

Vertical lighting means illuminating vertical spaces like walls, racks, and shelves. A temperature range of 3000 K to 3500 K with 70+ CRI is perfect for the grocery section. 

Light brightness of the grocery area

Fish, Seafood, And Poultry  

White meat like fish, prawn, and chicken need cool light temperatures to appear fresh and appealing. Typically, temperatures ranging from 4500 K to 5500 K are acceptable as they make the ice where meat is stored sparkle. The same goes for frozen food items.

There is not much requirement for high CRI, so anything above 70 will do. 

These areas also have working areas where workers prepare the meat, so additional task lighting works best. 

Red Meat 

Beef, mutton, and ham look fresh under warm lights ranging from 2500K to 3000K and CRI values greater than 70.

Fruits, Vegetables, And Flower Section 

Fruits and veggies have many exciting colors that you can exploit to increase sales. Use warmer lights and high CRI ratings like 90 and above for a fresh appearance. If you use low CRI-rated bulbs here, the vegetable may appear rotten than they are. 

Secondly, fruits, veggies, and flowers are sensitive to heat, so low heat-emitting LEDs are best suited for tasks. 

Skincare and Cosmetics 

Skincare and cosmetics have a significant emphasis on color and tone. There are numerous shades of colored cosmetics available, and not having the proper lighting would be disastrous to sales. Women also try out makeup kits before purchasing, so you want your customers to look good in mirrors. 

For that, install slightly warm lighting ranging around 3000 K and 95 above CRI-rated lamps for the best color rendering. 

Appliances and Crockery 

The electronic appliance section needs cooler color temperatures. The reason is that cool natural daylight of about 4000 K gives an illusion of bigger space. Since many appliances are large and take up a lot of space, customers may feel suffocated. 

Moreover, we recommend 80 and above CRI-rated bulbs for the appliances section. 

Light brightness of the appliances section

Bakery And Confectionery

Bakery items are perishable and taste the best from the oven. This means the lighting should be appealing enough to generate sales when fresh food is fresh. Use warmer lights as they bring out the best shades of red, orange, and golden color. We also recommend CRI more significantly than 90, as fresh bakery items are all about vibrant colors and mouth-watering aromas. 

Wine And Liquor 

The wine section is one of the most frequently visited areas in any supermarket, so having the right lighting design can result in higher profits. 

We recommend using low-voltage general lights to avoid glare. Instead, please use accent lighting as they create a sparkle in wine bottles, generating visual interest. Low-voltage general lighting also creates a relaxed and intimate vibe making customers spend time in the section.

Cash Register

We recommend a cooler and less glare-inducing lighting system at the cash counter. The cash counter involves dealing with money, atm cards, pin pad, and LED screens, all crucial tasks. Bad lighting can cause billing mistakes and inconvenience workers and customers. 

Low voltage and softer lights work best here. 

Softer light brightness at the cash counter


The storage area doesn’t involve customers, so you must be practical about the lighting design. Install more excellent and 70+ CRI-rated lights, as they are enough for reading labels and working safely—no need to install expensive high-rated luminaires in this section. 

Supermarket Section Color Temperature  CRI 
Grocery 3000 K 70+
Fruits and vegetables  2500 K – 3000 K 90+
Fish, seafood and white meat 4500 K – 5500 K 70+
Red meat  2700 K – 3000 K
Bakery and confectionery 2500 K- 2700 K 90+
Skincare and Cosmetics 3000 K – 3500 K 95+
Cash/Bill counter 3000 K 80+
Appliances  3000 K – 4000 K
Storage  4000 K – 5000 K

Why Is LED Important In Supermarket Lighting?

LED technology is the next step in lighting evolution, improving supermarket lighting. Popular stores like Walmart and Costco have reduced their energy cost by 40% using LED lighting fixtures. This is a huge number and can potentially increase the profits by manifolds. Here are some advantages of LED lights that will help you decide what’s best for your business. 

Low Heat

LEDs are the most heat-efficient luminaires. This makes a huge difference in a supermarket where heat-sensitive items like fruits, vegetables, meat, and frozen products are placed. You don’t want the items to perish before their expiry, so lamps with low heat emission are necessary. 

Cost Effective 

Lighting design has two costs associated with it. First, the initial upfront cost, and second, the operational cost. It’s true that LEDs are expensive and may be daunting to purchase at first, but they are efficient and make up their cost within one year. 

LEDs last 60% longer than traditional lighting and are poor maintenance. 

Energy Saving 

You can save a lot on energy consumption as LEDs are the most energy-efficient lighting systems. LEDs also reduce air conditioning bills as the luminaire generates minimum heat. There are also energy rebate programs offered by the government that help you convert the old lighting into a lower energy-consumption LED system at your place. Such programs provide financial incentives and guidance to supermarket owners. 

Huge Variety 

LED lights have various colors, fixture designs, temperatures, and CRI values. You have many creative options to create a unique theme for your supermarket. 

Suitable LED lights for supermarkets

Final Thoughts 

Once you go through our guide, the supermarket lighting design won’t seem much of a daunting process. We have presented information on lighting requirements, standards, and placement specific to supermarkets that you can use. Later, we broke down each section and discussed the right light, correlated color temperature, and color rendering index values.

Investing time and resources in appropriate lighting design for a supermarket can double your profits. 

RC Lighting Is Your One-Stop Shop For Supermarket Lighting Needs

A practical lighting design for supermarkets isn’t possible without high-quality lighting fixtures. RC Lighting understands the industry requirement and aims to bring high-quality LED lighting fixtures to supermarket owners. 

We manufacture LED lights in a high-tech facility under the watchful eye of expert engineers. Our company uses premium quality raw materials making our products reliable. Moreover, all luminaires have market-competitive prices. 

RC lighting serves customers all around the world. You can choose a variety of lighting fixtures like LED Recessed lights, LED Panel lights, LED Pendant lights, LED Spotlights, and LED Track lights.

We also offer customization for our clients who want a more tailored product. Our customer representatives are available 24/7 for your guidance. So, contact us and get a Free Quote NOW!

Request A Quote for Your Lighting Projects!

Share The Post Now:

You may also find these topics interesting

iec protection classes

IEC Protection Classes For LED Luminaires (2024)

This article is an in-depth guide on the IEC Protection Classes of LED Luminaires fixtures. The LED luminaires that you choose for your projects are mainly categorized into four electrical classes based on the protection level. Let’s dive right in.

Read More »

Download Catalogue!

Download our catalog to check all of our products and data sheet, select the right lights for your projects.