Pizza box

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For the computer enclosure design type, see Pizza box form factor.

The pizza box or pizza package is a folding box made of cardboard in which hot pizzas are placed to be easy home delivery and take away. The pizza box has to be highly resistant, stackable, thermally insulated to regulate humidity and suitable for food transportation. In addition, it provides space for advertising. The pizza packages differ from those of frozen pizzas, which contain the frozen product in heat-sealed plastic foils as is the case with much frozen food.

History[edit]

A pizza box collection point at Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Containers to deliver freshly baked pizzas have existed at least since the 19th century, when Neapolitan pizza bakers put their products in multi-layered metallic containers known as stufe (singular stufa, "oven") and then sent them to the street sellers. The aerated container was round and made of tin or copper.[1] Disposable packaging started to be developed in the United States, after the Second World War. At that time pizza was becoming increasingly popular and the first pizza delivery services were created. In the beginning they attempted to deliver pizzas in simple cardboard boxes, similar to those used in cake shops, but these often became wet, bent or even broke in two. Other pizza chefs tried to put pizzas on plates and transport them inside paper bags. This partly solved the problem. However, it was almost impossible to transport at the same time more pizzas inside one bag. In this way, the pizzas on the top would have ruined the surface of the others.[2]

The first patent for a pizza box made of corrugated cardboard was applied in 1963 and it already displayed the characteristics of today's pizza packaging: plane blanks, foldability without need of adhesive, stackability and ventilation slots.[3] The combination of such slots along with water vapour absorbing materials (absorption agent) prevented the humidity build-ups that characterized traditional transport packaging.[3] It is assumed that the pizza box was invented by Domino's Pizza, even if they did not file a patent application.[2] Until 1988 this chain employed a type of packaging whose front side was not directly connected to the lateral sides,[4] but rather the flaps fixed to the lateral sides were folded inward under the lid. This design is also known as "Chicago folding".[4] Domino's was the first pizza producer which employed pizza boxes on a large scale and in this way expanded its delivery range beyond the area immediately close to the pizzeria.[5] Towards the end of the 1960s, the delivery service was further developed thanks to the introduction of heat-insulating bags.[6]

Requirements[edit]

Stability and stackability[edit]

'Traditional' way of folding a pizza box

Most packaging for the transport of pizzas is made of cardboard, because this material is cheap and has many useful properties. Both solid fibre board and single wall corrugated board are used. The corrugated cardboard in use is often of the E flute size (micro or fine waves with a flute pitch of 1.0 to 1.8 mm), but thicker B flute cardboard with a flute pitch of 2.2 to 3.0 mm are also used.[7] Not only the geometric construction of the cardboard determines the stability of the box, but also especially the type of paper and its grammage. For the liner mostly containerboard is used on the inside of the box. This does not only make the box stable, it becomes more resistant against humidity and oil as well. To reduce the space needed to store the packaging to a minimum, the pizza boxes are folded just before use out of flat blanks. The required storage space depends very much on the different thickness of the material.[7]

Pizza boxes made from solid fibre board take up about half the space the boxes with E flute size cardboard need, and a quarter of the space of those made of B flute size cardboard. Apart from the material itself, the stability of the box is determined by the form it is folded into. The type of pizza box with flaps firmly attached to the side walls that are folded into the front wall has established itself as the standard. In this case, the walls of the box are connected at the edges and this increases its stability. The traditional way of folding the box is an example of this folding type. Its disadvantage is that the walls of the box rise vertically which makes cutting the pizza in the box with a pizza cutter more difficult.

Heath insulation and humidity regulation[edit]

The opening on the side of the box allows humidity to evaporate

The pizza box is supposed to allow the transport of a baked pizza with the minimum loss in quality possible. This means the box has two tasks to fulfill that are not easy to combine: On the one hand, the box should insulate as well as possible against the cold air outside, the occasional wind and heat radiation, in order to keep the pizza warm. To reduce heat flow the box has to close as firmly as possible to keep the warm air inside. Consumers consider a temperature between 70 and 85 °C to be ideal for pizza consumption. On the other hand, the box should keep the pizza from getting soggy, so that the crust and the covering are crisp on arrival.[8] To ensure this, the condesation caused by the pizza must be let out (airing holes and some diffusion through the cardboard) or absorbed by the box. Pizza boxes made of single wall corrugated board that are not equipped with additional insulation cool the transported pizza down to far after just ten minutes.[9]

The oil in the pizza dough can extract some of the essence in the cellulose when in contact with untreated corrugated cardboard. To prevent a change in the taste of the pizza through the material of the pizza box and simultaneously to stop the cardboard from getting soggy the pizza boxes have a thin coating of aluminium foil on the inside. Another possibility is to lay the pizza on aluminium foil, a mixture of corrugated cardboard and blotting paper, or waxed paper. However, this changes the thermodynamic properties of the pizza box considerably. The pizza crust cannot give up any humidity downwards, meaning the layer beneath does not only impede fat from trickling down but also steam.

Surface and advertisement[edit]

A pizza in a pizza box

Varieties[edit]

For pizza delivery[edit]

Pizza saver[edit]

Main article: Pizza saver

In the US, many pizza boxes include a spacer made of heat-resistant plastic (usually (polypropylene) placed in the middle of the pizza. It is called the 'pizza saver' (also known as 'package saver', 'box tent', 'pizza table' or 'pizza lid support').[10][11] This stops the box lid from touching the pizza and prevents toppings (such as cheese) from sticking to the lid when it is being delivered.[2] The 'pizza saver's' origin goes back to a 1985 patent, taken out by the American Carmela Vitale.[12][13] The little piece of plastic called the spacer is often criticized for being a waste of ressources as it is only used once and then thrown away.[14] For this reason, ideas for its reuse are being developed.

Bags and boxes for transport[edit]

Domino's Pizza motor bikes that are used for pizza home delivery in Goa, India, with transport boxes mounted atop

There are special padded transport bags and boxes for the delivery of pizzas in pizza boxes that are fitted to the typical sizes of pizza boxes. Some of these bags can be heated in order to keep the temperature at the desired level. Mostly, the can either be plugged to a socket or powered by the 12 volt car battery. This means that the insulation of pizza boxes themselves is less important. Pizza boxes with pizzas inside should be held horizontally at all times and should be protected against high acceleration to the sides and impact. To ensure this, there are usually handles on either side of the carry bags for carrying. Combined, these handles allow the box to be carried in one hand by the side of the body. Carry bags insulate best when their lid is connected to the rest of the bag on one side and the remaining three sides can be attached to lid by a zip. A bag can contain about three to five pizza boxes, which is usually enough for one delivery address. If more pizzas have to be delivered a higher bag is used or two regular bags are placed on top of each other and carried with both hands in front of the body.

Pizza box with thermometer[edit]

The pizza boxes by Pizza Hut in Morocco and other countries have a thermometer indicator on the outside which colour codes the temperature of the pizza inside, letting the outside world know about what is going on inside. When the pizza is hot the indicator shows the words 'HOT' in red letters on a white background. However, if the temperature of the pizza goes below a certain value the 'Hot Dot' turns black and the words are not longer legible. If the pizza is delivered to the receiver cold, then the next delivery is free of charge. The thermondicator is intended for one use only.[15][16]

Possible contaminations[edit]

2,6-Diisopropylnaphthalene (2,6-DIPN)[edit]

DIPN is used as a solvent in certain kinds of paper. These can be part of scrap paper which is used in the manufacturing of packaging like the pizza box. Direct contact or evaporation can transfer DIPN from the packaging onto the packed food, contaminating it. Especially food containing fat like pizza with a layer of cheese can absorb DIPN.[17] To date, there is no knowledge of danger to the health of the consumer. Still, paper contaminated with DIPN must not be used in the food sector in order to minimise danger of contamination.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006, ISBN 0-7475-8409-5, S. 63.
  2. ^ a b c Alexis Madrigal: The 3 Big Advances in the Technology of the Pizza Box. In: The Atlantic. 18. Juli 2011.
  3. ^ a b Abraham L. Tunick, Container, U.S. Patent 3,163,344 erteilt am 29. Dezember 1964.
  4. ^ a b John Correll. "Pizza Packaging, Overview & History". Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  5. ^ Matt Haig: Brand Success: How the World's Top 100 Brands Thrive and Survive. Kogan Page Publishers, 2011, ISBN 0-7494-6287-6, S. 241. (Google Vorschau)
  6. ^ Jean L. Walsh, Insulated Container for Pizza Pies, U.S. Patent 3,428,103 erteilt am 18. Februar 1969.
  7. ^ a b John Correll. "Pizza Packaging, Structural Options, Pros & Cons". Archived from the original on 2012-08-19. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  8. ^ Patrizia Fava, Luciano Piergiovanni, Ella Pagliarini, "Design of a functional box for take-away pizza" (in German), Packaging Technology and Science (Wiley) 12 (2): pp. 57–65, doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1522(199903/04)12:2<57::AID-PTS447>3.0.CO;2-R, ISSN 1099-1522 
  9. ^ Patrizia Fava, Luciano Piergiovanni, Ella Pagliarini, "Design of a functional box for take-away pizza" (in German), Packaging Technology and Science (Wiley) 12 (2): pp. 57–65, doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1522(199903/04)12:2<57::AID-PTS447>3.0.CO;2-R, ISSN 1099-1522 
  10. ^ About.com: Package Saver.
  11. ^ Produktbeschreibung: Pizza Lid Support.
  12. ^ Henry Petroski: A Round Pie in a Square Box. In: American Scientist. Juli–August 2011.
  13. ^ Europäisches Patentamt, abgerufen am 26. October 2011 (Englishmen).
  14. ^ Kritik am Pizza saver (englisch).
  15. ^ Scott Wiemer: Take a ‘Tour’ of Pizza Boxes of the World, privates Video über besondere Pizzakartons aus verschiedenen Ländern (Englisch), abgerufen am 15. Juli 2012
  16. ^ "Food Safety & Hygiene Thermometers & Temperature Indicators". www.lcrhallcrest.com (in German). Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  17. ^ Niedersächsischen Landesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit: Kernlösemittel DIPN in Verpackungen: 8 von 128 Proben beanstandet, Presseinformation Nr. 063. 17 December 2004. Accessed 5 January 2012.
  18. ^ Bericht über die 109. Sitzung der Kommission/Expertengruppe für die gesundheitliche Beurteilung von Kunststoffen und anderen Materialien im Rahmen des Lebensmittel- und Bedarfsgegenständegesetzes des Bundesinstitutes für gesundheitlichen Verbraucherschutz und Veterinärmedizin (Kunststoff-Kommission/Expertengruppe des BgVV) am 25./26. April 2001 in Berlin: Diisopropylnaphthalin (DIPN) in Papieren, Kartons und Pappen für den Lebensmittelkontakt (PDF; 84 kB), abgerufen am 5. Januar 2012