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Everyone has to eat, and this means that the prospective target audience for a business that provides food is virtually limitless.

While you want to be certain that the food you provide is delicious, it is critical that this food is safe as well. When food is not properly packaged it may not only lose its flavor but also its integrity. Delivering spoiled food is one certain way to sour the public’s opinion of your offerings.

Accordingly, it’s wise to carefully package all food products that you sell. In many cases, this means selecting the right kind of food wrapping paper.

Continue reading to discover more about food wrapping paper and how it can help you make a success of your business venture. Then, give Mid-Atlantic Packaging a call to see how we can help you make the best choices for all of your food packaging needs.

Food Wrapping Paper Vocabulary

Before understanding the different types of food wrapping paper that are available, it’s essential to become familiar with some common vocabulary that you are likely to encounter.

The first of these is “basis weight.” This term refers to the weight of one ream of paper, which is 500 sheets when the ream is cut according to the industry standard for that paper grade. Keep in mind that the standard wrapping paper size may not be identical for all types of paper.

Another term to be aware of is “caliper,” which refers to the thickness of a single sheet of paper. Typically, this measurement is expressed down to a thousandth of an inch and is measured with a micrometer. High-quality sheets of food wrapping paper will not have a variance of plus or minus five percent between sheets. “Basis weight” and “caliper” are related in that a thicker sheet of paper, which has a greater caliper, also will have the greater basis weight.

You also may hear references to “equivalent weight.” This simply means that different types of paper may have a variety of basic sizes. However, these papers still may be compared by using “equivalent weight.”

Different Types of Food Wrapping Paper

As you begin to examine your choices for wrapping food products, you’ll quickly see that there are many different materials out there. Some of these include:

  • Wax or greaseproof paper
  • Butcher paper
  • Parchment or baking paper
  • Kraft paper
  • Corrugated board

How do you know which option is right for your products? One way to get the answer is by calling Mid-Atlantic Packaging. For now, here’s a quick overview of each of these main categories.

Wax or Greaseproof Paper

If the items you are shipping or serving are cold or potentially have a high-moisture content, then wax paper is a great choice for you. It’s ideally suited to handling lean deli meats, cold pastries, and many kinds of cheese.

What makes wax paper such a good choice for these products? Mainly, it’s because this paper is coated on both sides with a thin layer of wax. This wax coating makes the paper unsuitable for baking because the wax would simply melt away. Similarly, you don’t want to use most wax paper with hot foods.

Thanks to the ultra-smooth surface provided by the wax coating, most things don’t stick to it very well. The wax coating also makes the paper resistant to moisture, retaining moisture for wet foods by not absorbing the dampness.

Other reasons to choose wax paper are that it can easily be written on with a Sharpie or other marker and simple adhesive tape can be used to secure it.

You have several varieties from which to choose as wax paper comes in rolls or sheets. Sheets of wax paper come in pop-up, patty, and flat-pack options.

Additionally, you may choose either dry or wet wax paper. Dry wax paper usually is manufactured from bleached Kraft paper that is then dry-waxed. This process drives the wax into the paper and leaves behind no surface residue. Accordingly, if you use dry wax paper, you may be able to use it for hot food applications because the wax cannot transfer to the food or melt away.

If you choose wet wax paper, keep in mind that it cannot be used for hot foods. It also is made from bleached Kraft paper, but a wet waxing process gives the finished product a high-gloss finish that also is water-resistant. Use this type of wax paper for refrigerated foods.

Butcher Paper

Also manufactured mostly from Kraft paper, butcher paper is sturdy and has a somewhat coarse feel. It’s the perfect choice if you need to wrap meat or fish.

Generally, butcher paper is coated with polyethylene. It is a cost-effective choice for companies on a tight budget, but it is helpful to know that butcher paper is not as resistant to grease as wax paper. This means that butcher paper may manifest a grease stain if you use it to wrap high-fat items like cakes or pastries. It will work for wrapping sandwiches, and most butchers use it to safely wrap up raw meat.

Butcher paper is available in rolls or sheets. The smaller sizes are virtually always treated with polyethylene to make them suitable for food-wrapping purposes. However, if you want a larger size, bear in mind that this butcher paper may not be coated. This is because larger sizes of butcher paper frequently are used to cover tables or for arts and crafts.

When selecting butcher paper, you’ll be asked to choose a specific variety. Your choices may include:

  • Peach treated
  • White
  • Gardenia
  • Pink/Peach

Peach-treated butcher paper is the main choice for displaying and packaging meat because it keeps the meat looking fresh. This paper is made from unbleached fibers, successfully hides juices, and allows packaged meat to breathe.

White butcher paper may be used for meat displays, as a table cover, or for crafts. Its stark white color provides a clean look to any display, and it can easily be used to line serving trays and baskets or wrap meat.

Gardenia butcher paper similarly is used for displays of fish and meat. Thanks to its off-white coloration, it improves the color of fish and meat on display. Another benefit of gardenia butcher paper is that it can prevent meat from developing a slimy feel.

Pink/peach butcher paper is approved by the FDA for use with smoking meats and barbecues. Able to help the meat retain its fresh coloring, this butcher paper may be used to display meat or for crafts.

Parchment or Baking Paper

While parchment paper may look similar to wax paper, there are some key differences. The main element that separates these two is their heat-resistant properties. Parchment paper, which also may be called baking paper, is manufactured to stand up to the heat.

With a silicone coating and acid-treated pulp as the main ingredient, parchment paper is impervious to oil and water. It has fairly good wet strength too, but it is not a particularly strong barrier to moisture and air. It can be used to pack lard and butter because it is non-stick. However, its main use is in the oven.

Additionally, if you need to wrap food items that are high-moisture or high-fat content, baking parchment may be the right choice for you.

One of the more attractive qualities of silicone-treated parchment paper is that it can be used several times, especially when baking at higher temperatures. If you opt for parchment paper coated in Quilon, then each sheet may be used only once and only at average oven temperatures.

Kraft Paper

Kraft paper is a basic component of many food wrapping options, but this variety is a little different. Sometimes called freezer or coated Kraft paper, this product is laminated on one side with polyethylene to provide additional leak resistance and strength while also guarding against freezer burn. For wrapping and storing fish, cheese, or poultry, this is an excellent choice.

Other applications at which Kraft paper excels include pre-packaged sandwiches and wraps. Freezer paper similarly is used extensively in the pasta industry for wrapping noodles.

You can easily write on the outside of Kraft paper using a crayon, pencil, or pen. Buy it in rolls or sheets. This paper also is available in white or in the traditional brown Kraft color.

Corrugated Board

This is a sturdier option that may be necessary if you need to pack cases of retail food products or ship bulk food orders. Most corrugated board is manufactured from two sheets of Kraft paper with corrugated fluting paper between the sheets. Boxes and other cartons made of corrugated board have excellent resistance to impact abrasion and can stand up to crushing forces.

If you need to ship large quantities of food, corrugated board may be an essential part of your packaging plan.

Get Food Wrapping Paper Advice from Mid-Atlantic Packaging

With so many options from which to choose, it can be difficult for entrepreneurs to know that they are making the best possible selections for their products. That’s why it makes sense to give Mid-Atlantic Packaging a call. Our food wrapping paper experts are ready to answer your questions to ensure that you make the right choice every time.