Most Pizzas Are Round. So Why Are Pizza Boxes Square?

When you think about it, the straight-edged boxes don't make any sense.

Pizza in Box
Photo: Jacobs Stock Photography/Getty Images

When it arrives at the door, the large, cumbersome box begs the question: Why are pizza boxes square, when the pie inside is round?

The answer is actually quite simple: Square boxes are easier and less expensive to produce because they are assembled from one sheet of cardboard. They're easy to construct on-site, and can be easily stacked and stored in corners or in the freezer aisle. But square boxes are wasteful, and a circular pizza simply doesn't need all the extra space a square box provides.

Over the years, companies have tried to shake up the pizza delivery industry with round pizza box prototypes. In 2004, a man named John Harvey invented a round pizza box called the Presseal, which he believed trapped grease better than regular boxes and kept the pizza from sliding around. But finding manufacturers who saw the product as a solution and not simply a gimmick proved problematic.

In 2010, Apple filed a patent for a thin, round pizza container designed for personal pies, featuring eight ventilation holes to allow moisture to escape. While it has yet to be made publicly available, it is used by Apple employees to take their pizza from the food court to their desk without it getting soggy.

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Most recently, World Centric, which creates certified compostable products for the food service industry, introduced Pizza Round, a plant-based compostable pizza box (made from sugarcane and bamboo). It has less packaging than a traditional box, as well as improved heat retention and air vents that help maintain crispiness. The pizza can be re-heated in the box (though we have an even better technique), the top doubles as a server, and the boxes nest to save storage space.

Here's hoping the circular boxes will catch on. Until then, turn delivery night into homemade pizza night. We have the perfect red sauce recipe to get you started.

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