Is the glazing agent vegan?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is glazing agent vegan?” and will discuss the uses of glazing agents.

Is the glazing agent vegan?

Maybe the glazing agent is vegan. There are many different types of glazing agents and they can be derived from both plants and animal sources. Confectionery, citrus fruit, and even baked foods may benefit from the use of glazing chemicals, which cover the surface of the item with a protective layer and provide a glossy shine.

Sources of glazing agents


Glazing agents may be either natural or synthetic. They are used mainly for preservation of food items by forming a thin coat around it. List of glazing agents: Stearic acid, Beeswax, Candelilla wax, Carnauba wax, Shellac, Microcrystalline wax, Crystalline wax, Lanolin, Oxidized polyethylene wax, Esters of colophonium, Paraffin (1).

Natural waxes generated by animals and plants, as well as synthetic waxes, are used to make glazing agents and edible surface coatings. The E numbers of some of the most often used EU-approved food glazing agents are mentioned below (2).

E NumberProduct
E901Beeswax, white and yellow, produced by honey bees.
E902Candelilla wax, from the Mexican shrubs Euphorbia Cerifera and Euphorbia antisyphilitica.
E903Carnauba wax, from the leaves of the Carnauba palm, Copernicia cerifera, or the Brazilian palm, Copernicia prunifera.
E904Shellac, a wax-containing resin secreted by the Lac insect Kerria lacca.
E905Microcrystalline wax, produced by de-oiling Petrolatum.
E907 crystalline wax
E910 L-cysteine [animal origin]
E912montanic acid esters
E913lanolin, sheep wool grease
E914oxidized polyethylene wax
E915esters of colophane


Glazing refers to the application of a coating glaze material onto the surface of foods to enhance their shine and appearance, contributing to extending the shelf life of foods (like in bakery and confectionery products. Many types of glaze materials can be used as film-forming fluids and can be made of protein-based (milk, egg, etc.) and fat-based (shortening, vegetable oil, etc.) components. However, the main ingredient of a glazing suspension is usually table sugar (3). Glazings are being used for a variety of purposes within a multitude of food systems, even though this fact might not be fully realized by consumers. The shiny surface of an apple in a supermarket is not provided by nature. Some candies (e.g., M&Ms) are coated with shellac to increase product shelf life and provide desired glaze. Medicine pills are often coated to prevent crumbling, to hide any bitter or undesirable taste before swallowing, and to provide controllable timed-release of medications. Even French fries are frequently coated to provide protection during cold storage before frying, control of water losses during frying, and stability against wilting and/or loss of crispness under infrared lamps between frying and serving (4).

Mechanical procedures such as spraying, mixing, or dipping are used to apply surface coatings to a product. The coating is stabilized by drying, heating, cooling, or freezing once it has been applied evenly to the product. More than only mechanical movement is required for encapsulation, which requires the application of a liquid layer to microparticles, polymerization, and chemical bonding. For this reason, rheological characterization is an important variable for coating technology. Many physical phenomena that occur during coating of vertical surfaces, such as draining and leveling, are influenced by the rheological properties of the film-forming fluid (3).

With a glossy, water-resistant covering, glazing agents are ideal for protecting surfaces from the effects of the elements. To extend the shelf life of food goods, a protective coating is applied, which acts as a moisture barrier and prevents their destruction by external humidity. Glazing agents are sought after for their capacity to preserve their integrity at high temperatures and pressures, as well as for their uniformity and homogeneity on a large industrial scale.

Uses of glazing agents

Applied to the Food Sector

Surface coatings are applied to food items to improve their visual appeal by altering their luster or color. They may also alter the product’s texture or taste, or enhance its flavor, to make it more palatable. Surface coatings may be utilized to provide vitamins and minerals to a product. As for release agents, they may help keep the packaging from clinging to items.

Uncontrolled migration of water is generally recognized as the biggest food storage/ transportation challenge. Both loss and gain of water are almost always considered undesirable. Application of a glazing in some form on the surface of the product can prevent water migration and retain optimum structure (4).

Here, we’ve included the most commonly used food additives recognized for use as glazing agents by the European Union (EU), including the food categories in which they are permitted and the maximum quantities allowed.

Food and Beverage Industry

Sugar panning is a common method of coating confectionery items, such as almonds, chocolates, and jelly beans, with a sugary coating. Candies are typically coated with confectioners’ glaze to give them a shiny finish.

Panning is a method used by both pharmaceutical and confectionery industries, and entails putting the product to be coated into a large, rotating bowl, referred to as the pan. The coating solution is ladled or sprayed into the rotating pan, and the product is tumbled within the pan to evenly distribute the coating solution over the surface of the food or pharmaceutical material. Forced air, either ambient or of elevated temperature, is used to dry the coating. Edible shellac is currently used to finish chocolates and other candies, such as jelly beans, with a gloss surface, while whey protein coatings plasticized with sucrose were found to be highly glossy (4). These are two examples of non-vegan glazing products.

The pharmaceuticals sector

As an excipient, surface coatings are utilized in the coating of tablets and capsules. Also, encapsulation is utilized to safeguard and regulate the release of drugs. In the past, pharmaceutical glaze (Shellac in an alcohol solution) was employed as an enteric coating, but its stability concerns hampered the release properties, and therefore its usage for this purpose has been reduced.

Other Business Sectors

Lipsticks, lip balms, emollients, and other skincare products all include waxes, which give them a glossy appearance.

Difference between synthetic and natural glazing agents


For example, plant or insect-based glazing agents have been discovered and used. Because they naturally help an organism retain moisture, these substances have been modified by scientists into a glazing agent that serves as a protective layer over surfaces. Wax is the primary ingredient in the glazing agent. As an ester with an extended hydrocarbon chain and long-chain alcohol, a natural wax meets the chemical definition. Wax esters, sterol esters, ketones, aldehydes, alcohols, hydrocarbons, and sterols may all be included in the definition of a wax. Carnauba is a natural plant wax and is GRAS (generally recognized as safe). It is relatively permeable to gasses, and in microemulsion form, is quite shiny. The primary problems with carnauba wax are its loss of gloss during storage and its relatively high gas permeability. In enology, wine bottle corks may be coated with beeswax and paraffin wax to prevent soaking of the cork and release of flavors from the cork to the wine (4).

Synthetic glazing agents

There are glazing agents that mirror their natural equivalents created by synthetic science. To get the best glazing agent for a product, these components are mixed in varying amounts.  It includes everything from food to cosmetics to cars.

The following are some of the qualities that are sought for in all of these industries:

·         The glazing agent must protect the product from deterioration and water loss to maintain its preservation value. This trait may extend the shelf life of a food product or the lifespan of a vehicle without rusting, for example.

·         Glazing agents must keep their integrity under pressure or heat to preserve their stability. 

·          The protective coating may be put in a homogenous layer if the viscosity is consistent.

·         Because most glazing agents are used on commercial items, huge volumes of glazing agents may be required.

·         Each product has a variety of glazing agents, yet they all serve the same objective.

Other FAQs about Vegans that you may be interested in.

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In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is glazing agent vegan?” and discussed the uses of glazing agents.


  1. Karunaratne, Desiree Nedra, and Geethi Kaushalya Pamunuwa. Introductory Chapter: Introduction to Food Additives. Food Additives. IntechOpen, 2017.
  2. Focosi, D. Glazing Agents. 2014. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.
  3. Meza, Bárbara E., Juan Manuel Peralta, and Susana E. Zorrilla. Rheological properties of a commercial food glaze material and their effect on the film thickness obtained by dip coating. J Food Process Eng, 2015, 38, 510-516.
  4. Embuscado, Milda E., and Kerry C. Huber. Edible films and coatings for food applications. Vol. 9. New York, NY, USA:: Springer, 2009.