3 Facts About Food Waxes
What Is Food-Grade Wax?
In the grocery supply chain, food preservation is essential because food needs to be fresh and edible when it sits in the supermarket. Manufacturers find many ways to protect food from spoilage, making sure it’s in good condition for customers to consume. One of the methods industries use for preserving foods is food wax.
Did you know there are types of waxes used in many of your favorite foods? Wax can be used for protecting cheese, candy, fruit, vegetables and more to help preserve and give products a glossy polished look. Today we’re going to take a look at three facts about food waxes.
1. How It Works
Wax is used on many popular foods, including cheeses, fruit snacks, Skittles, M&Ms, fruits, vegetables and more. This might sound strange at first, but there’s a good reason to use wax. Wax helps keep foods looking and tasting fresh. Wax is particularly useful for fruits like apples because it helps them retain moisture, enhances firmness and slows down the natural degradation process.
Note that food-grade wax differs from other types of wax substances. It’s important to know that only some types of wax are recognized as safe for food contact.
2. Types of Waxes And Their Uses
There are two types of waxes commonly used for food coatings and applications — paraffin wax and carnauba wax. Both types of waxes are safe to ingest and provide various benefits for food protection and quality.
Paraffin wax is derived from refining light to medium lubricating oil and is often nearly colorless and odorless. Paraffin wax is used to make fruits, vegetables and candy look shiny. Food-grade paraffin wax is composed of vegetable oils, palm oil derivatives, synthetic resins and other materials.
Paraffin wax acts as a chemical preservative for food and helps foods look great and continue to stay fresh. Food-grade paraffin wax is edible and provides foods with both functional and appearance purposes. This type of wax can give chocolate a shiny coating. When chocolate is combined with paraffin wax, it will refrain from melting at room temperature or stay solid in someone’s hand.
Paraffin wax can also help prolong the shelf life of produce. The paraffin wax is sprayed on various vegetables and fruits to give them a shiny look and help them retain moisture. The coating can easily be washed away once the person takes them home and runs the produce underwater.
Carnauba wax come 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 yellowish-to-brown wax coating. It is then refined and bleached before it’s used to give candy and fruit snacks their shiny appearance.
Carnauba wax is also used for the wax coating around hard cheeses. Soft cheese can benefit from both carnauba wax and paraffin wax because it is easily susceptible to growing mold. A wax coating will protect the cheese and keep it as fresh as possible. The wax coating is created by melting down carnauba wax and either dipping the hard cheese in or brushing it on the cheese. You can easily peel off the wax coating when you’re ready to eat the cheese.
3. Why wax?
Wax is used to coat produce and other foods to help them last longer. Wax is used instead of other techniques because it is edible and safe for human consumption, according to the U.S. Food and Drug regulations for food additives.
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.
Learn More About Food Coating Waxes From Blended Waxes
Keeping your food products fresh and protected during the supply chain process is essential for your business. If you’re interested in food coating waxes for your food products, consider working with us at Blended Waxes.
Blended Waxes offers various wax products and services for numerous industries and applications. We provide custom wax blending to meet your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about our wax products or services and how we can help your business.