The Story Behind The First Official Patent For Frozen Pizza

In the early days of frozen pizza, the results were, let's just say, very disappointing. It's the crunchy crust, stringy melted cheese, and flavorful toppings that make for a delicious frozen pizza dinner. However, all of those attributes were often lacking in the earliest frozen pizzas.

According to Invention & Technology, the first frozen pizzas had crumbly and soggy crusts because ice crystals would form on the pizza due to the freezing method used, which damaged the pizza. In addition, those ice crystals also caused the pizza toppings to release water as they were warmed, causing them to lose flavor and get dried out.

Yes, there was the flash freezing method invented by Clarence Birdseye, but the equipment required wasn't practical for pizzerias looking to sell their frozen pies, according to Invention & Technology, which is how most frozen pizzas were sold until Totino's started to sell their products in the 1960s across the United States.

What was a pizza lover to do, if they didn't feel like making a pizza from scratch? Settle for a tasteless, soggy pizza or always go out to eat at a restaurant to satisfy a pizza craving? Thankfully, the desire to innovate and create a great pizza to be made at home was very powerful.

Improving the frozen pizza business

It was in 1950 that Joseph Bucci invented a way to freeze pizza that would help it to retain its integrity, per CNBC. He filed a patent called "Method for Making Frozen Pizza".

His method of freezing the pizza dough, Bucci believed, would help the pizza keep its shape and maintain its flavor. In order to keep moisture from negatively affecting the pizza, Bucci's patent called for an "edible sealing agent" that would be placed on the crust that would stop the tomato sauce from being absorbed into the crust, reports CNBC.

Bucci's patent application was simple, per Mental Itch, which described the pizza as dough with tomato sauce. Cheese, meat, and vegetable toppings were optional.

Unfortunately for Bucci, the awarding of his patent came a little too late. By the time it was awarded to him in 1954, other companies were already making good-quality frozen pizzas that were being sold in grocery stores across the country.

While Bucci's patent may not have ultimately made the difference in being able to purchase a frozen pizza that tasted delicious after it was made in a home oven, it was ambitious people like him that ultimately brought the pizzeria experience to homes across the country.