4 Food Wax Facts

Posted: December 3, 2018

Wax is used in and on many of your favorite foods, including candy, fruit, cheese and vegetables. Wax helps preserve and gives the foods a glossy polished look.

Food waxes

1. How It Works

Wax keeps food looking and tasting fresh. For example, apples and other similar fruit are coated in wax. The wax helps the fruit to retain moisture, enhance firmness and slow down the natural degradation process.

Other treats, like fruit snacks, Skittles and M&Ms are also coated in wax to give them a shiny appearance and to help the treats hold their shape.

2. Types Of Food Waxes

Paraffin Wax
Paraffin wax is derived from refining light to medium lubricating oil and is often nearly colorless and odorless. Paraffin wax is used to make foods look shiny. It is also used in chocolate to help it stay solid at room temperature.

Carnauba Wax
Carnauba wax is shiny, which is perfect for giving a glossy finish to the food. The wax comes from the leaves of the carnauba palm, which grows in northeastern Brazil. The wax is collected by beating the dried leaves to free the wax coating. It is then refined and bleached before it is used to coat foods.

Both of these waxes are edible.

3. Wax Is Safe

Wax is used to coat produce and other foods to help them last longer. Wax is used instead of other coatings because it is edible and safe for human consumption, according to the U.S. Food and Drug regulations for food additives.

4. Food Coatings Aren’t New

Edible food coatings have been used since the 1100s, when merchants in southern China used wax to preserve oranges. Today’s food waxes have advanced. They now allow the exchange of gases and help maintain freshness, flavor, texture, aroma and nutritional value.

Interested in learning more about wax types and uses? Check out these blogs:

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