The Uses of Glycerin – a “Dynamite” Food Ingredient

The Uses of Glycerin – a “Dynamite” Food Ingredient

By on Jan 8th 2021

Glycerin, Glycerine and Glycerol what's the difference? The first thing to understand is that Glycerin, Glycerine and Glycerol are all the same polyol compound. The name Glycerol is more of a generic term for products that contain the ingredient Glycerin or Glycerine. 

The name Glycerin is mostly used by domestic manufacturers in the US while Glycerin(e) is the name used by over-seas producers. What is important to understand is that they are all the exact same product. A colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is non-toxic and has a sweet taste. So, for simplicity reasons, in this article we will refer to it as glycerin when talking about how outstanding we think it is.


Glycerin was originally discovered in the process of making soap. To produce soap, fats from either animals or vegetables are broken down by treating them with a strong alkaline solution. Glycerin was a by-product of this process. Today, glycerin is produced similarly but is also a by-product found in many other processes like the production modern biodiesel fuel as well as directly from propene. On average about 350,000 tons of glycerin are produced in the United States each year, that’s quite a lot.

Food Products

Glycerin’s uses are many, but its greatest value is its versatility as an ingredient in food products. It is safe to consume and is often added to thicken food and beverages. It is clear in appearance which doesn’t change the final product color. It has a natural sweet taste which makes it an ideal sugar substitute. 

Most importantly, glycerin is a good humectant (able to retain water) which is an important quality for food to maintain its moisture content and not dry out.


Glycerin is also the third most used ingredients in cosmetics which validates its usefulness even more. Being it is a humectant, glycerin is used to hydrate the outer most layer of skin, help improve skin barrier function, provide protection against skin irritants, and even help speed up wound-healing processes. This makes it a very beneficial additive in hand sanitizers to counter the detrimental effects the alcohol in hand sanitizer has on our hands. Additionally, it helps thicken cosmetics and keep them from drying out as well.

So...Is It Dynamite?

We definitely consider glycerin to be an outstanding product, but would we say it is “Dynamite”? Absolutely! It is an important starting material to manufacture nitroglycerin which is the explosive component of dynamite. Nitroglycerin can be made by reacting glycerol with sulfuric acid and nitric acid which can create a very explosive product. Funny thought… It is also the same thing you are told to put under your tongue to relieve chest pain.

Glycerin is Generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA for use in food and it is also safe for use in cosmetics according to the cosmetic ingredient’s expert review panel.

Check out for our wide selection of Glycerin:

Glycerin, USP/FCC/NF | 570 lbs Drum
Glycerin, Moon OU USP/FCC | 55 lbs Pail
Glycerin, Moon OU USP/FCC | 570 lbs Drum
Glycerin, Moon OU USP/FCC | 2800 lbs Tote
Glycerin, Superol K USP/FCC, GMO-Free | 570 lbs Drum
Glycerine USP, GMO Free | 55 lbs Pail
Glycerine USP, GMO Free | 570 lbs Drum
Glycerine USP, GMO Free | 2800 lbs Tote


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