9 Interactive and High-Tech Pizza Boxes

Viva La Pizza // Scott Weiner
Viva La Pizza // Scott Weiner / Viva La Pizza // Scott Weiner

1. The Rise and Shine Box

Viva La Pizza // Scott Weiner

In 2009, Andrew DePascale and Marcello Mandreucci invented a space-saving solution for cluttered pizza-eating situations. This box transforms into a serving stand to free up table space that would normally be eaten up by the box’s footprint. Perforated regions of the lid fold out to connect with tabs on the side and front flaps, lifting the box base six inches off the surface. Since the box is not losing heat by direct conduction, the pizza theoretically stays hotter longer than it would if sitting directly on a table.

2. The Box for Keeping Score

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This elegant two-color design doubles as an interactive game when the left lid flap is upturned. Players fling bits of crust over the park’s left field wall, affectionately known as the Green Monster. This box was available from the Boston-based Papa Gino’s during the 2012 baseball season.

3. The GreenBox

Viva La Pizza // Scott Weiner

This just may be the most talked-about pizza box innovation. A custom die pattern creates perforations that allow the lid to split into four serving plates, and the base becomes a storage container for leftover slices. The perforations also make it easy to break the box down for disposal once it has exhausted its usefulness. Pizzerias can give customers the benefits of a GreenBox for no additional cost over the conventional use of corrugated boxes.

4. The Box That Will Challenge You

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The Venetian scene on this box lid is actually an 80 piece puzzle. The concept comes courtesy of a now-defunct company called PackToy, who planned to sell the boxes as an added value for pizzeria customers. Other options included boxes that could transform into soccer fields, dinosaur statues, or model airplanes. Sadly, production costs kept the boxes out of reach for most operators.

5. The Family Night Box

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In late 2009, Domino’s Pizza shipped 23 million pizza boxes featuring three different Hasbro games: Cranium, Pictureka, and Connect 4x4. The boxes were part of a cross-promotional effort to market the game company’s Family Game Night promotion. An extensive TV and online campaign encouraged families to play board games together, and Domino’s presented itself as the perfect dinner complement. The shape of the box points to a design patented by Weyerhauser Company in 1997 that uses angled front corners. This increases stacking strength while simultaneously securing the pizza, and decreases paper use.

6. The Box That Doubles as a Music Venue

Viva La Pizza // Scott Weiner

Domino’s Japan launched a stunning campaign in March 2013 featuring this bizarre box. The character in the center, Hatsune Miku, is a singing synthesizer application with a humanoid persona. She can be programmed to make human vocalizations with a built-in sound bank. Hatsune Miku has appeared in commercials, a TV series, and even projected on stage for live performances.

The magic of this box becomes apparent when it is paired with an exclusive Domino’s Japan iPhone app. The free app uses the iPhone’s video interface to generate an image of Hatsune Miku performing atop the pizza box. By changing the angle of capture, users can manipulate their view of the performance. You can see how it works here, starting at the 1:42 mark.

The box was so popular that the first run sold out in just six days. As of this writing, the Hatsune Miku app is available only on iPhone and only in Japanese. And it seems to work only with this one pizza box.

7. The Fancypants Delivery Box

Viva La Pizza // Scott Weiner

This Naples lock-style box features 17 discrete vents for steam release, four of which double as structural stabilizers. Exciting as that may be, the container’s interior holds its true innovation by way of a metallic polyester lining that both conducts heat and prevents the paper component from absorbing oil. Water-soluble glue bonds the metallic coating to the inner liner, making separation simple for recycling.

Because of its advanced features, this technology runs double the price of a standard corrugated pizza box. Nonetheless, its inventors at INPACT (Italy) believe it will succeed with high-end restaurants who understand the necessity for quality products to travel in quality containers.

The photo-quality graphic is preprinted on the box’s outer liner with a description of Pizza Napoletana TSG, the European Union’s designation for authentic Neapolitan pizza. Requirements include specific Italian ingredients, intense baking methods and predetermined crust height.

8. The Holy Grail Pizza Box

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The VENTiT Box by Shree Krishna Packaging (India) tackles the Holy Grail of pizza box ventilation: allowing crust-damaging steam to escape without sacrificing necessary heat. The box does so by exposing sections of the corrugated medium in alternating segments inside and outside the box, allowing moisture to escape without direct ventilation. Manufacturing the box requires a slight rearrangement of traditional corrugation, but adds no new technology.

Shree Krishna’s owner, Vinay Mehta, said he “was blessed with the idea;after 35 years in the corrugated industry. The invention has since won several design awards, including first place in the “Form and Function” category at the 2011 Association of Independent Corrugated Converters Awards in Las Vegas. The AICC has not honored any other pizza box before or since.

Currently available only in Mumbai and Dubai, VENTiT has the potential to drastically improve the quality of delivery pizza.

9. The "We'll Prove It's Still Hot" Pizza Box

Viva La Pizza // Scott Weiner

In 2009, Pizza Huts in Australia and New Zealand began using the “Hot Spot” to ensure hot pizza upon delivery. The small black-dot sticker is printed with leuco dyes, which become transparent when they reach a predetermined temperature. Pizza Hut tuned their dots to disappear at approximately 122 degrees Fahrenheit, revealing the word “HOT” printed with standard ink below. This relatively low temp outside the box translates to a much higher 155 degrees on the inside.

If a customer receives a pizza box that does not show “HOT” on the sticker, she is entitled to a free pizza. This creates an incentive for operators to maintain a high speed of service, because the stores themselves, rather than Pizza Hut corporate, are responsible for paying for the free pizzas.

The box has no ventilation beyond the small tab along the lid’s forward edge, so minimal heat is lost due to steam release. Unfortunately, the Hot Spot sticker cannot be placed inside the box, and is therefore subject only to temperature fluctuation outside the highly insulated container.

Excerpted from our pal Scott Weiner's wonderfully comprehensive book Viva La Pizza: The Art of the Pizza Box. Be sure to order your copy here