From sandwiches to steaks, and everything in between, food of all forms needs to be packaged properly to preserve freshness and ensure safe handling. Knowing which type of paper food wrap to use for your application – butcher paper, freezer paper, sandwich paper, or wax paper - is vital to delivering a quality product to your customers. That's why we've created this handy guide. Use it to discover the various types of paper food wraps available to you, and then determine which one is right for your unique needs.
The weight of one ream of paper (500 sheets) when cut to the industry standard for that specific grade of paper. It is important to note that the "basic sheet size" is not the same for all types of paper.
Caliper refers to the thickness of a sheet of paper expressed in thousandth of an inch. This measurement is taken with a micro meter. Normally, paper caliper should not have more than a + or - 5% variance within a sheet. Generally, the relation between caliper and basis weight is that the greater the caliper (the thicker the paper), the greater the paper weight.
While different paper types have different basic sizes, papers can still be compared by using equivalent weight.
Butcher paper, or Kraft paper, is a type of coarse, sturdy paper, ideal for wrapping meat and fish. It is widely used among fishmongers, butchers and even crafters.
Most butcher paper is treated with sizing for wet strength and leak resistance; however, larger rolls, such as 24", 30", and 36" sizes, are traditionally left untreated since they are often not used for meat wrapping (they're used most often for crafts or table covers).
Butcher paper is fine to write on with sharpie, pen, pencil, or crayon.
Peach Treated vs. White
White butcher paper is made of bleached white Kraft paper that provides a clean appearance as a meat packaging material. Additionally, white butcher paper is often used in craft settings, as its white coloring and large size makes it easy to draw murals on. In casual dining settings, white butcher paper can also be used as a disposable tablecover.
Peach treated butcher paper is designed to keep meat looking fresh while on display. The treated paper allows the meat to breathe unlike white butcher paper, thereby enabling the meat to maintain an attractive color. Additionally, its dark orange coloring discretely hides any juices that happen to leak from your meats.
Both white and peach treated butcher paper have unique blood and water hold out properties for wrapping meats and other moist products. Further, with their high tear and burst resistance, these papers help to prevent bones from breaking through the wrap.
Freezer/Coated Kraft Paper
Like butcher paper, freezer paper is a type of coarse, sturdy paper. It features low density polyethylene laminated on one side for strength, leak resistance, and the prevention of freezer burn for up to a year. It's ideal for wrapping and storing fresh fish, poultry, and cheese, as well as pre-packaged deli products like wraps and sandwiches. Also, freezer paper is great for wrapping noodles and is used extensively in the pasta industry. Freezer paper is great for maintaining freshness in both the refrigerator and the freezer.
Freezer paper is fine to write on with pen, pencil, or crayon, but only on the outside due to the poly coating.
Sandwich Wrap Paper
While sandwich wrap paper may be most often used to wrap sandwiches, it's also great for packaging sides, pretzels, pastries, and more!
Traditional sandwich wrap paper features a fully open styling, making it ideal for wrapping sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and bratwursts, or for lining serving baskets.
Some sandwich wrap paper features a double open design, making it great for wrapping flat items, such as pastries, pretzels, and cookies. This style of paper also doubles as a cone basket liner for versatility.
Wax paper, or paraffin paper, is a type of paper that is treated with wax to allow it to have a smooth surface that prevents other items from sticking to the paper. By applying wax to the paper, the paper becomes resistant to moisture transitions in either direction, keeping moist food wrapped in such paper juicy, and preventing dry wrapped foods from exposure to moisture.
Wax paper is fine to write on with sharpie and is tape-friendly.
- Dry or wet varieties
- Rolls or sheets; sheets are available in flat pack, pop-up, and patty paper options
Dry Wax Paper vs. Wet Wax Paper
Dry wax paper is a type of bleached Kraft paper that undergoes a dry waxing process which drives wax into the sheet and leaves no surface residue. Since the wax coating is pressed into the paper, and therefore will not transfer to your product, dry wax paper is perfect for hot food applications such as wrapping sandwiches and lining pizza boxes.
Like dry wax paper, wet wax paper is a type of bleached Kraft paper, however, instead of a dry waxing process, wet wax paper undergoes a wet waxing process on both sides for a high gloss water resistant surface. Wet wax paper offers an excellent packaging material for refrigerated food products such as sandwiches, vegetables, poultry, fish, steaks, and meat. Also widely used in the candy industry as dipping paper or as a tray liner.
Pop-up wax paper sheets are made of dry wax paper and provide a quick and easy way to wrap a variety of products at your grocery store, deli counter, or market. These sheets are interfolded and packed in a "Pop-Up" box for easy counter top dispensing.
Patty paper makes it easy to prepare, package, and sell your own prepared hamburger patties. Like interfold wax paper, patty paper is made of dry wax paper. It is placed between patties during preparation and storage to prevent the patties from sticking together. Patty paper is especially useful in freezer applications.