The Reason Round Pizzas Come In Square Boxes

Picture this: It's Friday night. You just returned home from a long day at work, and the weekend has officially begun. You're far too tired to whip up a homemade dinner, so you order an extra-large pizza to enjoy. The piping hot, cheesy, and saucy 'za finally arrives. You set the box on the table, open it up, and allow the umami, comforting aroma to fill your abode. But as you hungrily grab a couple of pieces, you notice that each slice — which is likely triangular — is a fraction of a circular whole, which is then stored and transported in a square container. Your mind is understandably blown, and you start to wonder how this mathematical paradox has existed for so long in the culinary world. For one, many pizzas are round due to the traditional dough-making process, according to BakingHow.

So, why exactly do round pizzas often come in quadrilateral instead of circular boxes? Could it be because of the convenient box-folding hack that took TikTok by storm? As it turns out, it has to do with avoiding the disruption of one of the corrugated packaging industry's most efficient and trusted design strategies.

Square boxes are simply easier to manufacture

A pizza with rounded edges inside a square box. What gives? Mental Floss explains that, while exceptions do indeed exist (such as Domino's iconic hexagonal boxes), you're more likely to find square boxes when you order pizza. The reason? Boxes are typically constructed from a single piece of cardboard, which straightforwardly folds into rectangular prisms or cubes. The shape also makes stacking boxes a lot easier.

Perhaps not surprisingly, people have attempted to solve this geometric puzzle over the years. For example, according to Real Simple, an Atlanta man named John Harvey invented a round pizza box back in 2004. The Presseal claimed to prevent pies from sliding around as well as capture heat more effectively than classic square boxes, thereby keeping the pizza fresher and crispier. However, Harvey had a challenging time selling the product concept to manufacturers, who believed it was more of a novelty than a necessity. Regardless of whether or not a newly structured pizza box ever enters the market, everyone can agree that the delicious contents are what matter most.