The Long History of Frozen Pizza in the United States

Weird History Food, as a part of its ongoing series about pizza, took a look at the long and sometimes complicated history of frozen pizza in the United States, including all of its later iterations,

Weird History Food is taking frozen pizzas out of the freezer and into the storytelling oven to talk about everyone’s favorite go to cheesy snack. Thanks to some innovations, frozen pizzas have become a staple in just about everyone’s freezer.

This includes the origins of pizza in the United States, the increasing demand across the country for pre-made pizzas, and the discovery of freon in 1928. Once freezers became available, the desire for frozen pizza followed. Several pizzerias led the charge, the first in Philadelphia.

But Joseph Bucci, a Philadelphia pizzeria owner, wanted to take his unbaked ready-to-cook pizza game one step further. And he filed the first US patent for frozen pizza. He called it The Method for Making Frozen Pizza. Once Bucci figured out how to freeze a pizza without the sauce seeping into the dough, while still keeping its original taste and texture, other independent pizza makers took his lead.

Brands such as Red Baron, Tombstone, and Totinos paved the way for other regional brands. This eventually led to further iterations such as Hot Pockets, Pizza Rolls, Bagel Bites, and French bread pizza. Then in 1995, Kraft introduced a product that changed the frozen pizza game entirely with DiGiorno.

French bread pizza, Hot Pockets, and Bagel Bites were all whimsical riffs on frozen pizza. …However, the most important innovation to rock the industry happened in 1995. This was the year that Kraft Foods reinvented the frozen pizza game forever with their new line of DiGiorno frozen pizza, which featured a patented rising crust. Don’t bother looking for the DiGiorno family though. The Kraft marketing department baked up the Italian-sounding surname to convince their pizza-eating customers the brand had Italian roots.

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