Greaseproof paper vs. baking parchment & other food-wrapping materials Posted by Bulman Products, 22nd December 2017

The low-down, if you’re short on time:

Wax (greaseproof) paper is ideal for cold, high-moisture items:

  • Cheeses
  • Cold pastries
  • Lean deli meats (turkey or ham)

Butcher paper is ideal for hot or cold non-greasy items:

  • High-volume, low cost
  • Sandwiches, other breads
  • Raw meat and fish (layered butcher paper, for added strength and moisture-resistance)

Baking parchment is ideal for hot items with high moisture or fat content:

  • Freshly-baked pastries
  • Warm sandwiches and wraps
  • Warm cookies

The longer version, if you really want to understand your food-wrapping materials:

Greaseproof paper, or wax paper as it’s called in the US, is coated in a thin layer of wax on both sides. This makes it totally ineffective for baking on, for example, as the wax melts (and could even ignite...!) - so unless you want to sell paninis with a wax coating, you should avoid it when serving hot food products. However, the wax barrier makes it an excellent choice for cold foods with a higher fat content, like pastries or cheese.

Butcher paper is coated in polyethylene, and is an inexpensive choice, but not as resilient to grease as wax paper – it will develop an unpleasant grease stain if you use it to wrap pastries or cakes, which have a high fat content. Butcher paper is, however, a great choice if you want a low-cost material for wrapping sandwiches. Layered butcher paper is also popular with butchers (no surprises there!) for wrapping raw meat or fish – the ‘peach treated’ variety, of an orangey-brown colour, is particularly effective to minimise the appearance of blood.

Baking parchment - What’s the difference between greaseproof paper and baking parchment, we hear you ask? The two look almost the same, and a lot of brands carry both, with a small price difference. The crux of the difference is heat resistance! Baking parchment gets treated with a silicone coating, which gives it similar properties to greaseproof paper (non-stick, moisture resistant). However, it has the added benefit of being extremely heat-resistant. This makes it into a perfect solution if you want to wrap any high-moisture or -fat content items that are served hot. Hello warm sausage rolls, gooey chocolate chip cookies and doughnuts!

Cling film (yes, we know it’s not technically paper, but it’s a good alternative!) is a fantastic, low-cost material, and it can be layered with something more attractive (butcher, or Kraft paper) for a more high-end finish. It is one of your best options for greasy foods, hot or cold, and it is the king of freshness – cling film provides a better barrier than other materials, ensuring no air gets to your products.

Other factors to consider when choosing food-wrapping materials

  • Market placement Bear in mind the appearance of the various food-wrapping papers – if you sell fine foods, and charge a premium, your customers may not be receptive to cheese that has been carelessly wrapped in cling film. Greaseproof paper offers a more high-end, attractive option.
  • Translucence Greaseproof paper and parchment paper are translucent, and a good choice if you want the colour of the product to shine through
  • Branding You may want to brand up your wrapping paper, possibly by stamping or printing a logo onto it – some materials, including wax paper and butcher paper, lend themselves well to this
  • Eco-friendliness If your brand ethos and customers are environmentally conscious, you should explore which food-wrapping materials have the lightest carbon footprint. Most cling films and butcher papers cannot be recycled, greaseproof paper can be recycled but is not biodegradable, and parchment paper is normally recyclable and biodegradable.

Food-wrapping speed and convenience

All the types of food-wrapping paper can be purchased in rolls – for busy retailers, this is a far more convenient option than sheets, which take up lots of space, and get scuffed and ruined easily. Our Bulman Products All-in-One paper dispenser is a brilliant piece of equipment for a café, butcher or deli. Some of its (many!) advantages:

  • It can be wall or worksurface mounted
  • It allows you to cut food-wrapping paper quickly and gives you a neat, professional finish
  • It stores and dispenses food-wrapping paper rolls without taking up a lot of space
  • It’s clean and hygienic

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