History of Wafer Paper
By Wouter Smits on 27-05-2020
The history of wafer paper can be traced back several centuries. Its origins are not entirely clear but we know that during the Renaissance, wafer paper was served as a dessert. It was a luxury foodstuff that only the aristocracy and upper middle class could afford. To no surprise potato starch was the key ingredient driven by its abundant availability in Europe. Did you know that potato is the no. 1 staple in the Netherlands as illustrated by Vincent van Gogh in his painting “the potato eaters”.
Later, wafer paper was invested with religious significance, symbolizing the celebration of the Eucharist. Today wafer paper is a product that is appreciated by all citizens regardless of income, religion and appetite. Its versatile usage symbolizes the cultural richness of Europe, it is a vital part of cocosmacroons, torrones, nougat, calissons, Lebkuchen, paleisbanket and many more food items.
One of the first industrial manufacturers of wafer paper was Primus Wafer Paper in the Netherlands. Primus was founded in 1916 on the banks of the river Zaan in the original “Food Valley” of the Netherlands. In 1935, there was a merger between Primus Ouwel and De Vrede to strengthen their market position. After WWII the global usage of wafer paper started to spread out and many more applications for wafer paper were developed.
It is striking that the recipe of wafer paper (no addtives, pure and natural ingredients) is in 2020 still very relevant and desired by many customers. The future will tell what role wafer paper is going to play in the world but all trends (less sugar, no plastic, authentic foods, sustainability) are supporting the raison d’etre of this unique category.