Supermarket Lighting

supermarket lighting

Supermarkets are focusing on better design. Lighting plays a key role in creating the drama and excitement found within the specialty departments: produce, deli, seafood, bakery, wine and floral. These areas give merchants the opportunity to showcase goods that become impulse purchases and distinguish their store from the competition.

The quantity and quality of illumination, the impression it creates about the merchandise and the effect it has on the supermarket's appearance are all factors in a successful lighting design. A designer must consider a variety of key characteristics when developing their lighting plan including lamp life, system efficiency, lumen maintenance, color rendering and appearance, daylight integration and control, light distribution, points of interest, cost, system control and flexibility.

ConTech Lighting will guide you through the lighting process and be your lighting resource. It takes time and effort to ensure that the investment in lighting will be returned to the bottom line, and it’s a partnership ConTech will be involved with every step of the way.

Goals of Supermarket Lighting


Create a signature appearance throughout the store

Make the store look bright and open by using a natural looking light source

Provide a visual hierarchy to
direct the shopper to “must see” 
items and specials

Establish a visually comfortable environment in which to evaluate merchandise

Layers of Light


  • A uniform, base level of lighting that can easily become the focus of energy reduction
  • Comfortable level of brightness
  • Diffused General Lighting makes customers feel comfortable and more likely to stay longer
  • Perimeter Lighting, or Wall Washing, helps define merchandising spaces, provides vertical lighting and makes the retail space feel larger

With minimal illumination of the merchandise, General Lighting allows the staff to perform daily tasks plus safe customer circulation throughout the space.



  • Illuminates an area for specific tasks; providing a focused, localized, and higher level of illumination
  • Energy efficient sources help reduce operating costs 
  • A 3:1 ratio of Task to General Lighting provides a nice contrast for evaluating merchandise, reading tags, labels, or packaging, and reading signs that identify store departments

Task Lighting is most effective when used as a supplement to General Lighting; it should eliminate shadows on the specific illuminated area while preventing glare from the lamp or off surfaces. The amount of light needed on the task is usually the most flexible variable, and can be increased to compensate for low contrast levels.



  • Creates a dramatic emphasis on merchandise using a focused, or point, light source(s); adding depth and contrast
  • This illumination should be more precise and of higher intensity than the surrounding Ambient Light
  • A 5:1 ratio of Accent to Ambient Light makes objects stand out and creates a significant visual effect

Accenting everything and emphasizing nothing is a common mistake with Accent Lighting; always keep in mind that there is such a thing as providing too much light.



  • Dual purpose lighting: not only to contribute to the lighting layers in the retail environment, but also to enhance the look of the space as a design element
  • Decorative Lighting should complement and add visual interest to the space, as well as contribute to the overall lighting plan

Using Decorative Lighting is an important reflection of a store’s brand image and reinforces the theme and style of the space. It can also contribute a feeling of hospitality and comfort to the shopping experience, putting customers at ease and encouraging a longer visit.


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