Totino’s pizza and packaging: Square, hip and supply-chain optimized

Rob Kaszubowski in Supply Chain on July 25, 2016

Square is hip when it comes to efficiency in packaging in this case study analysis of Totino’s bold move to a square pizza that piles on the supply-chain savings.


Deep at heart, I am a child of the 80’s. One of the top songs from that time—“Hip to be Square”—was generated by one of my favorite bands, Huey Lewis & the News. Now that I’m a packaging engineer, it looks like history is repeating itself: Totino’s is making sure it’s hip to be square as they just launched a new square pizza!

I don’t know about you, but when I hear “square pizzas” I immediately think of food service school lunch pizza. But apparently the budget food manufacturer (now owned by General Mills) did its due diligence on long-term packaging inefficiency and has realized the significant supply chain savings tied to square pizzas.


While traditional round pizzas poorly utilize cubic space, Totino’s wants its square party pizza to fit in



Years ago the Walmart Scorecard began to evaluate the “selling unit cube utilization” (SUCU, for short). This SUCU metric looked at the ratio of how well the product fit inside its respective packaging (product volume vs. package volume).  When you evaluate the amount of air space and the cubic utilization of a round pizza in a square box, this shape change seems like a no-brainer. And in the transportation and warehousing world (not to mention cold-chain transportation and storage), this space comes at a premium cost.

Simply stated, squares are more efficient than circles.


Packaging cost savings = the real driver for change


I love the marketing messaging behind Totino’s packaging change…. “fit more in your freezer,” “fits better in a toaster oven.”

While those may be true, there’s no denying that the change will also drive home some significant packaging and transportation cost savings.


When you start to consider the holistic supply chain impact this change has knowing that the brand sells more than 300 million pizzas annually, the savings really add up.

Although the square is not a very sexy shape, unless you happen to be into boxes, you can bet that logistics and supply chain executives (as well as Huey Lewis) will agree: It’s hip to be square!


Rob Kaszubowski is the Engineering Manager at Chainalytics, where he is focused on reducing product damage and implementing packaging cost reduction initiatives while leading a team of packaging consultants .Rob also contributes to the Packaging Matters blog.

Connect with Rob on LinkedIn and on Twitter @KazPack1




Looking for packaging ideas that can optimize links in your supply chain? Visit MinnPack, September 21-22 in Minneapolis.


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This is gay bring back round pizzas
I hate the new packaging and have quit purchasing them !
What are the actual measurements?
Our 7-1/2 year old grandson used to love Totino's pizzas when they were round. Now he won't eat the square ones. #spoiledrichkid
We love the square pizzas. We cook them on the smoker grill, great! Also, the crispy crust is something that we are very fond of.
Its called getting richer for a company. Cut out less of the product and sell it for the same price. Many conoanies have been doing it for the past few years. Smaller cereal boxes, smaller chip bags, its getting snaller and smaller and sokd for the same price and companies say its to help reduce stuff when its a load of bull
I hate party pizzas!!! This is some serious BS!
This is BS. I hate the squares. It's no longer a party. This is a conspiracy and I won't stand for it!!!
This is BS!! These pizzas are no longer a party. They are funeral pizzas and caused me to drink heavily.
It may be a cost savings for the manufacturer, but when every corner burns before the center is cooked, it's pretty much a rip-off for the consumer. You still end up eating a circle, just a much smaller one. Anyone else notice that the overall ingredient quality seems to have fallen too?
Yeah but now it doesn't look like a pizza or cook evenly. When the product goes to crap and people stop buying bc they miss the old one, is it worth it?