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Pizza Innovations: Thinking Outside the Box

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[Photograph: Slate/Scott Wiener]

A while back we covered the recent publication of Slice contributor and pizza tour guide Scott Wiener's new book, Viva La Pizza! The book looks at his incredibly extensive collection of pizza boxes, and at the time the focus was on the variously artistic covers.

Recently, Scott shared an excerpt from the book with Slate, going into a few of the more technological innovations in box design. One of the earliest? The 1985 invention of the Package Saver, that little, white, plastic tripod we all know and love for protecting our pizza surfaces from inevitable smushage.

The picture above features the GreenBox; custom dye patterns create perforations that allow the lids to split into four serving plates, with the base functioning as a storage container for leftovers. Easy to break down, customizable graphics, and with no additional cost over regular corrugated boxes; it's definitely a big change. (You can catch more of our coverage here.)

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[Photograph: Hell Pizza]

Other odds and ends—2009's Table Box (self-explanatory), New Zealand's Hell Pizza Box and it's detachable "coffin" for storing that last slice of pizza, the Euro Lock Box with 17 steam vents, and Pizza Hut's 2009 "Hot Spot" for its Australian and New Zealand deliveries: a black-dot printed with special dyes and set to disappear at a supposed internal temperature of 155 degrees fahrenheit.

One of the bigger up-and-comers is the VENTiT Box, designed by Shree Krishna Packaging and currently only available in India. The box tackles one of delivery's most fundamental problems: how to allow steam to escape without losing heat? Their solution was to expose sections of corrugation in the boxes, in alternating inside-outside segments. The moisture is then free to escape through the fluted channels, while heat is retained.

If you've seen any particularly excellent pizza box innovations, let us know in the comments! Meanwhile, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that we see that VENTiT Box in the U.S. sometime soon...you know how much we hate pizza to go in a bag.

About the author: Kate Andersen is a Contributing Editor for Slice.

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