LED Lighting Case Study: Buy-Low Foods

Originally founded in 1966, Buy-Low Foods is now the largest food wholesale distributor to independent grocers in Western Canada, servicing nearly 1,900 wholesale customers through its Associated Grocers and Van-Whole Produce divisions. With 35 corporate stores and two franchise stores, Buy-Low Foods also provides fresh produce, fine cuts of meats, and national brand products directly to consumers. Although each of these stores is unique, they all share a common commitment to deliver quality products at low prices while providing a great customer experience.

LED lightingWhile designing a new store build, and with a focus on value, Louie Pulice, Business Development Coordinator for Buy-Low Foods, began looking for lighting solutions to make the new Langdon, Alberta store as cost efficient as possible, without sacrificing the shopper experience. He worked with Electrical Designer Dan Melchior to develop a lighting plan that would meet Buy Low Foods lighting standards while lowering operation costs.

The Solution

Dan Melchior decided to go with LED lighting after having a conversation with his sales agent, Bryan Lortie from CDm2 LIGHTWORKS. After Lortie introduced the Cree product line, Melchior developed his lighting design primarily with Cree LED lighting.

“I’ve used alternate manufacturers for site lighting on other projects, but I’m now convinced that Cree’s variety of LED packages and warranty knocks all of the competitors off the map. Cree provides a 10-year warranty on their products, which is double what other manufacturers provide,” Melchior explained.

Melchior ended up selecting CS18™ LED Suspended Ambient luminaires down the aisles and CR24™ LED Troffers in the deli/bakery areas and offices. Both products feature Cree TrueWhite® Technology for the ideal combination of efficacy, 90+ CRI, and consistent color temperatures. WS4™ Surface Ambient luminaires were utilized inside the freezers and coolers, and Cree Edge™ LED High Output Area luminaires in the parking lot.

With a lighting plan ready, the next step was to present the plan, product samples, photometric data, and the payback analysis comparing the traditional technology versus modern LED technology to Buy-Low’s Development Team. Everyone was surprised to see a three-year payback, and were pleased that they had found a viable LED lighting solution.

The Benefits

Bringing in an electrician to Buy-Low Foods stores could cost up to $2,000 per visit. By installing Cree® LED lighting, Buy-Low Foods is expected to save $8,745 in annual maintenance costs.

LED lighting“As a designer, it only makes sense with the rising costs of electricity to choose products that will save the owners money in the long term, as well as the inherent cost savings from the maintenance side which is a huge part of their operating costs,” explained Melchior.

The end result is high performing, beautiful white light that can dramatically improve the visual appearance of fruits, vegetables, and meats. Cree TrueWhite® Technology is perfect for grocery applications, because it delivers 90+ CRI, high R9 values, and accurate and consistent color — all while offering significant energy savings compared to traditional technologies.

“The quality of light is non-intrusive and the diffusers provide a soft, even distribution down the aisles,” said Melchior. “I challenge any indirect traditional luminaire to do better.”

Cree offers flexibility within light levels to change a customer shopping experience that is unique to a select store. For example, Nesters Market stores lean towards lower light levels to give a more comfortable/cozier shopping experience, while Buy-Low Foods stores choose higher light levels to make the produce and groceries pop off the shelves.

“When we built the store and opened it up, there were a lot of comments on how comfortable it was,” added Pulice. “In the past, when you looked up at LED, it blinded you. With Cree, people seem to really like the light level, and has a comfortable shopping experience. Even at night, it’s really impressive.”

The Langdon location set a trend for Buy-Low Foods: The company upgraded the Buy-Low Foods in Clearwater and a Meinhardt Fine Foods with Cree LED lighting. Buy-Low is also looking to Cree for three new Nesters Market stores in 2016.