Pizza Box Purchasers
John Correll designed pizza boxes from 1992
to 2008. To support that endeavor I posted on this website
a large amount of material pertaining to my personal opinions
and ideas about pizza box design, manufacture, and use. Subsequently,
without my permission a pizza box manufacturer recently appropriated
some of those opinions and ideas from this website and inserted
it into its marketing material, in particular its product
catalog. Further, it then stated at the bottom of this unauthorized
material that it "comes from Correll Concepts LP."
It causes me great sadness to have to publicly make known
that this is a false statement. Correll Concepts LP, which
stands for Correll Concepts Limited Partnership, never
provided any such material to that box-maker, or to any box-maker.
to prevent future unauthorized and inappropriate use of my
personal opinions and ideas pertaining to pizza packaging,
which I once posted on this site, I have herewith removed
all of that material (except for this article on the History
of Pizza Packaging). I have done this to forestall further
unauthorized and inappropriate use of my personal name, and/or
the name of any of my companies, by pizza box manufacturing
I close this message by noting that it's truly a sad day when
executives of a large multi-million dollar corporation can't
(and/or don't) create their own marketing ideas and material
but, instead, find need to resort to appropriating
or, as some might say, "stealing" the ideas
and material of another person and then, worst of all, seek
to bolster the credibility of their business by incorporating
that person's name, or the name of one of his companies, into
their marketing material.
Overview & History
This article describes the often-ignored but high-potential
world of pizza packaging. Virtually everyone has experienced
hundreds of pizza boxes in their lifetime. Yet few know anything
about the vessel that carries their favorite food. This article
introduces you to the origins of the good ol' pizza box.
a pizza box can be made of most any material ex., plastic
and molded paper pulp paper has generally been the
material of choice for most pizza box concepts, for three
reasons. First, it's economical. Second, it has substantial
stacking strength, or crush-resistance. Third, it resists
condensation build-up on the interior surfaces.
pizza packaging comes in two forms: (1) paperboard
and (2) corrugated board, often incorrectly referred
to as cardboard. Paperboard also known
as boxboard, cartonboard, and cardboard is basically
a single sheet of very thick paper. Examples include chipboard
and SBS (solid bleached sulfate) board.
In this article we use the term paperboard to
refer to a single sheet of paper. However, within the packaging
industry this term also is sometimes used in a way that
it encompasses all packaging materials made of paper, which
would then include corrugated board, as well.
common form of corrugated board used for pizza boxes is single
wall corrugated. It consists of two outer sheets of flat paper,
called facings or liners, glued to a fluted, or corrugated,
inner sheet, called medium. Corrugated board was invented
in the 19th century and first used for making boxes as early
as 1894. In basic concept it has remained unchanged for over
a hundred years and, so, carries the distinction of being
one of the most durable and versatile of modern inventions.
packaging probably began in the 1940s after World War II.
With the advent of carry-out pizza, the first pizza package
was most likely a combination of paper bag and a chipboard
or corrugated square. With this, the pizza is placed on the
square and the entire unit is slid into the bag which is taped
or stapled shut. Subsequently, a circle replaced the square
shape, making it easier to insert into the bag. This package
was convenient (no pre-folding needed) and highly economical.
But it lacked stacking strength, heat retention, and product
protection capability three requirements for good pizza
paperboard pizza box appeared. It resembled the structure
of bakery cake cartons of the time, in that the four corners
of the box were formed by inserting a tab projecting from
one wall into a slot in an adjacent wall. Due to the thinness
of the material, it requires a piece of aluminum foil or a
chipboard or corrugated pad in the bottom. To impart rigidity
and prevent accidental cover opening, the box is stapled or
taped shut on all sides. This was slightly less convenient
than the circle and bag package, but it imparted a measure
of heat retention and product protection two key factors
to functional pizza packaging.
1960 the corrugated pizza box was introduced. Several individuals
and companies claim to be the originator. The switch to corrugated
board provided substantial stacking strength, improved heat
retention, and greater product protection over the paperboard
pizza box. Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza, has stated
that adopting the corrugated pizza box was one of the fundamental
innovations responsible for the growth of the Domino's Pizza
design variations of the corrugated pizza box have evolved.
The first is a non-connected-corner carton in which the front
wall and two side walls each have a flap appended to the top
edge which is positioned parallel to the bottom panel. This
structure formed the basis of the original Domino's Pizza
box (used until 1988) and also of a carton that has become
known as the Chicago folder. The box blank for
the original Domino's Pizza folder box looked like this.
blank for the Chicago folder pizza box looks like this (taken
from U.S. Pat. 4,265,393).
The second type of corrugated pizza box design that has emerged
is what's known today as the Traditional Pizza Box
a connected-corner carton that has a double-panel, or roll-over,
front wall that encloses left and right front corner flaps
between the two panels of the wall, thereby locking the two
front corners of the box into upright position. Box manufacturers
refer to this carton as the roll-over box and
also as the walker lock box. (No one knows where
the walker lock name came from.) This design is
the most widely-used pizza box in the world currently
in use by Pizza Hut, Papa John's Pizza, and Little Caesars
among thousands of other pizza companies. In
spite of its widespread use, this box possesses a number of
drawbacks. The blank for the Traditional Pizza Box looks like
In the 1970s Little Caesars Pizza introduced the 2-for-1 concept.
With an eye on cost reduction, it invented the U-board and
bag. With this particular package, two pizzas are placed side-by-side
on an elongated corrugated board. Opposing lengthwise sides
of the board are folded upward, creating a U-shaped board
when viewed from the end. And the entire unit is slid into
a paper bag that's stapled shut at the end. The advantages
of this particular packaging design are large-looking package
and low cost.
the first major change in corrugated pizza box structure hit
the market. It occurred when Domino's Pizza picked up on an
eight-sided (octagon) box invented by Stone Container (now
Smurfit-Stone Container). It was dubbed the Octabox. The blank
for the Octabox looked like this taken from U.S. Pat.
introduction of the Octabox a boom in pizza box innovation
began. Since then, numerous variations of corrugated (and
some non-corrugated) pizza box designs have emerged, both
by box manufacturers and by independent inventors.
of the non-square pizza box ushered in the opportunity for
graphics-structure integration, or the creative merging of
structure and graphics to produce pizza boxes of heightened
the non-square shape made it possible to design ultra-low-cost
pizza box concepts that save up to 12 percent in material
over the Traditional Pizza Box.