oranges crate

There’s no better way to make sure produce looks good and stays safe for consumption than by adding a layer of protective fruit wax to it before sending it to market. But what exactly is it, and what specifically makes putting wax on produce such a good idea for growers, packers, and consumers alike? Learn all about it here with this guide from Fruit Growers Supply.

What is Fruit Wax? 

Fruit wax is a sheen that gets added to a crop before it gets put on the shelf at a local grocery store. Though it’s called “fruit wax,” it can actually be applied to veggies, tubers, and many other kinds of organic crops as well. You can put far more than one kind of wax on produce, including shellac, resin, whey, beeswax, and many others. Though the process has its roots as far back as 12th century China, the modern incarnation of fruit waxing involves spraying or immersing the products in a wax bath before sending them out to the shelves.

Why Should Packers Use Fruit Wax?

Fruit wax has multiple advantages, from both an aesthetic and value perspective. Not only does it make produce look better—it helps with saving food waste as well.

Putting wax on produce has been proven to entice bigger produce sales from customers roving their local grocery stores. You’ve likely experienced this phenomenon in your personal life: how often have you passed up a worn and ragged-looking apple for one with a shine and color pop straight out of a Disney cartoon? Probably more than a few times, and probably because that extra coat of wax just made that fruit look more appealing.

But wax on produce doesn’t just beautify your product: it makes it safer to eat as well. As Dr. Atilla E. Pavlath from the U.S. Department of Agriculture points out, “Fruits and vegetables have skins that provide natural protection against drying out, discoloration and other forms of spoilage.” Think of fruit wax as being a kind of second skin for your product: by helping to keep it in a state of preservation visually, it also gives it a second life against the natural ravages of nature.

Finally, packinghouses putting wax on produce is a surefire way to go about saving food waste. Considering that an astonishing amount of produce ends up being thrown away by American customers—an estimated 30-40%—it stands to reason that the fruits and veggies that look better and last longer are going to have a greater chance of making it to market and ultimately being consumed. If you’re a packer, and you want to safeguard your product against finding its way to the garbage bin without so much as a bite being taken of it, wax on produce can go a long way. Wax helps growers ensure as much of their harvest gets to from the farm to the plate as possible.

Is Fruit Wax Safe?

Healthy Vegetables

Like with many modern growing techniques, there’s no shortage of alarmism about “unnatural” products being used on the food you eat every day. Thankfully, you can rest assured that there’s nothing unsafe or even unnatural about your decision to add a coat of wax on produce you intend to ship to stores.

As mentioned previously, most fruits and vegetables already have a natural protective coating that helps to protect against things like age and sun damage. And according to a study by Washington State University, the manufactured coating accounts for between 994 and 973 parts per 1,000,000 when it comes to the total composition of your fruit—less than one-thousandth of one percent, in other words. Artificial wax on produce is applied so lightly that it can have no toxic effects on the human digestive system.

And if you’re concerned about allergies, take heart that the vast majority of fruit waxes will tell you exactly what they’re composed of on the label, helping you with saving food waste by preventing you from discarding your beautiful looking fruits and vegetables out of worry that they might produce a rash or swelling. You have nothing to lose by applying a coat of wax on produce you intend to sell, and so much to gain.

Where Can I Find the Best Fruit Wax For My Packinghouse?

vegetables market

Just like with any other product, the quality of fruit wax can vary, and since this material is applied straight to the skin of food that nourishes consumers every single day, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving them nothing but the best. That’s where Fruit Growers Supply Co. comes into the picture.

FGS has been giving growers and packers the tools and expertise they need to thrive since 1907. If you run a packinghouse and you’ve never put wax on produce before, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know, and if you’re on the search for the best materials to coat your wares with, our store directory will help you find just what you’re looking for in no time flat.

You’re working with smart and helpful friends when you choose to work with Fruit Growers Supply.

To start saving food waste and increasing the profitability of what your packinghouse produces, get in touch with us and let us know how we can help. We do it all at FGS, from getting wax on the produce you sell every day to helping your postharvest systems run that much more efficiently. Contact Fruit Growers Supply Company today and give yourself the resources to make sure all the produce your packinghouse puts out gets to market in the best quality possible.

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