ProCera Natural has all the familiar characteristics of traditional cheese waxes, which contain fossil raw materials such as paraffin (a petroleum-based solid), microcrystalline waxes (a byproduct of petroleum refining), and coloring. Meanwhile, Procudan’s formulation contains beeswax and other natural materials.
While beeswax has been used for centuries to wax cheeses, it has limitations in that it can become brittle and crack, making parafin-based waxes a more pliable and reliable option. Procudan's latest product however is said to overcome these limitations by adding other natural materials - undisclosed to us for commercial reasons - that provide the required level of pliability and strength.
Six years in the making
ProCera Natural was developed by the Danish company in collaboration with some of Europe’s largest dairies. The whole project took six years to complete, having commenced in 2017. The Danish Technological Institute acted as scientific partner and there was also support from the European Eurostars innovation program and the Innovation Fund Denmark InnoBooster program. Experts from several universities were also involved in both the direct development of the natural cheese wax and in coming up with new technical methods of analyzing and testing cheese wax.
The patented formulation contains beeswax among other natural ingredients, we were told. The product can fulfil all traditional functions of cheese wax – it can be used for cheese maturation, to protect cheese during transport, and also as retail packaging. All these functions have been tested at length by the manufacturer and the product has already been used at several large Scandinavian dairies.
“Until now there have been no options that did not involve the packaging of cheese in various materials like plastics and waxes based on fossil oil,” said the company. “Because ProCera Natural is a natural product that can be associated with beehives, the packaging’s characteristics can now be used as a way to actively market the cheese.”
Asked about the demand for such a product from the market, a spokesperson for Procudan told us: “The sustainability megatrend was already taking shape in 2017 when we commenced this project. We already knew then that the dairies were looking for more sustainable solutions for their packaging needs and so we stared to develop this product.”
Cooperation with customers was essential, particularly during the final stages of the project as we were getting the various wax variants ready for the market. CEO Tommy H. Pedersen said: “It was perfectly natural for us to involve customers in the project; partly to test the wax variants in actual production runs, but also because that's just how we work anyway. Developing something for our own sake is pointless. It has to work out at the dairies, too.”
The Procudan development team said it tested more than 5,000 different formulations before creating prototypes and variants that covered every customer requirement.
Procudan said the product is available to manufacture and supply globally now.