Headquartered in Thomasville, GA, Flowers Foods is a leading US marketer of packaged bakery foods. It operates 46 bakeries that produce breads, buns, rolls, snack cakes, pastries and tortillas. Most recently, the company’s bakery in Opelika, AL turned to LEDs to light the underside of its new bread cooling system.
The installation of LED lighting is becoming a popular choice for replacing high-intensity discharge fixtures, such as metal halide and/or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Metal halides can be costly to operate, generate intense heat and lose about half of their light output midway through their lifecycle. Requiring ongoing maintenance due to their limited lifecycles, CFLs contain mercury, which can pose multiple risks to food environments when a bulb is broken or cracked.
“We’re definitely moving away from the use of glass products on the production floor,” says Chuck Gilmer, the bakery’s building and maintenance superintendent. “With glass, there’s always the risk of breakage, which can contaminate an entire line. Plus, traditional lighting is so hot and costs so much to operate. Ideally, we wanted an ultra-durable LED system that would crisply light the floor area and virtually last for years without a second thought.”
Flowers Foods installed G&G LED lighting specifically designed for demanding commercial food environments. NSF certified for use in restaurants, food processing centers and storage facilities, the WPX Series is an eco-friendly, long-lasting copolyester alternative for extremely hot and cold conditions. It also eliminates the need for hardwiring, facilitating the placement of hundreds of fixtures in indoor and outdoor applications.
“It took me only three hours to install 75 feet of lighting,” recalls Gilmer. “The system’s convenient push-and-click connectors simply snapped together. The system operates at about one-third the cost of traditional lighting, and it provides the clear, bright white light we wanted for our workers. Now, we’re discussing switching all of our lighting to LED.”