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Butcher Paper vs Kraft Paper

Butcher Paper vs Kraft Paper: What’s the Difference? (2023)

Last Updated on December 31, 2022 by Shari Mason

Today’s food service industry deals with different types of papers to help them accomplish their everyday business operations. 

But if you are only starting your restaurant business, you might get confused by the similarities between butcher paper and kraft paper. 

Although both papers came from the same materials, both have different uses and purposes. Here is our quick, comprehensive comparison between butcher paper and kraft paper.

Is Kraft Paper The Same As Butcher Paper?

butcher paper

No, kraft paper is not the same as butcher paper. Most people can only differentiate the two with their colors; kraft paper is brown paper, while butcher paper is commonly white.

Butcher and kraft paper came from the same wood fiber, meaning kraft paper shares the same raw materials as butcher paper.

But there are certain differences between butcher and kraft paper. They are used for different purposes, where kraft paper is for packaging and wrapping gifts, while butcher paper is for meat and fish storage.

Comprehensive Comparison

Origin

Kraft paper is a result of the pulping process introduced in the 19th century by Carl Dahl, a German chemist.

The process involves introducing sodium sulfate to produce a stronger paper, hence the word ‘kraft,’ which means strength in German [1]. 

On the other hand, butcher paper is a thick kraft paper that first appeared when butchers started selling meat and seafood using paper.

Diversity of Use

Kraft paper has more uses than butcher paper. It can be used for packaging, making bakery bags, wrapping gifts, envelopes, craft projects, or even as a tablecloth. 

But kraft paper is not ideal for wrapping and smoking meat. Butcher paper is specifically engineered for preserving fresh meat as it can help maintain its color and quality. 

Aside from wrapping burgers or sandwiches, this paper is also good for covering raw meat because it can withstand moisture.

Absorption Capabilities

The true difference between kraft paper and butcher paper is their absorption capabilities. 

Butcher paper offers superior containment of blood, oil, and other meat-related moistures because of the primary treatments applied to the paper.

It is also unwaxed, making it a fat-absorbing blanket that will keep the meat from drying. 

Comparatively, the wax coating of kraft paper prevents it from absorbing fat or moisture. It isn’t a good choice for smoking a brisket.

Food Safety

In the food service industry, FDA approval determines if their product complies with federal quality standards and is safe for consumption [2]. 

As mentioned, butcher paper does not have a wax coating, making it an FDA-approved non-toxic paper that can be in direct contact with food. 

Meanwhile, the wax coating of kraft paper can melt and contaminate your food if you try to use it for smoking meat. 

Color Choices

Butcher Paper Industrial & Food Wrap

Both kraft papers and butcher papers come in multiple colors. Food-grade kraft papers are usually brown and white, but brown kraft paper is more popular because it has no bleaching agents. 

Butcher papers are commonly white, but there are also other colors, such as pink butcher and peach-treated butcher papers.

The white is uncoated, perfect for a sandwich or burger wrapper. 

Pink butcher paper or peach paper is famous to barbecue enthusiasts, and the peach-treated butcher is perfect for preserving fresh meat. 

Price Point

It is more expensive to buy butcher paper than kraft paper, but their prices do not have such a huge gap. 

The pink butcher paper or the peach paper is around $20 to $60, depending on the size, while the white butcher paper costs around $25.

However, both the white and brown kraft papers are around $20.

Do Butcher Paper & Kraft Paper Share Similarities? 

Yes, both kraft paper and butcher paper share some similarities. They share the same raw material and initial process making. 

These two papers came from the same wood pulp, but the treatment for butcher paper makes it flexible for food-grade use.

It means that the paper can safely have direct contact with food. 

In addition, both products undergo the same kraft process and come in different colors with different functions. 

FAQs

Can I substitute kraft paper for butcher paper?

No, you can not substitute kraft paper for butcher paper. Unlike kraft paper, butcher paper is FDA-approved and has an absorption capacity for oil, blood, and other moisture. 

Can you use kraft paper for smoking meat?

No, you can not use kraft paper for smoking meat. It has a wax coating that can contaminate foods.

Does the color of the butcher paper matter?

Yes, the color of the butcher paper matters. The different colors have unique uses.

For instance, the white butcher paper is for sandwich and burger wrappers, and the peach-treated butcher paper is for preservation.  

Final Verdict

Butcher and kraft paper share the same raw materials and are an important part of the food service industry. However, those true differences between the two papers make it hard to choose which is better. 

For the diversity of use, origin, and prices, kraft paper is better than butcher paper.

But if you are looking for a paper with great absorption capabilities and help preserve the freshness of meat, then butcher paper is the perfect option.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6801293/
  2. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/it-really-fda-approved
Shari Mason

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