If you disregard national chains like Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme, you’ve probably noticed that most donut places, especially on the West coast, use distinctly pink cardboard boxes for customers to transport their sugary, delicious goods.
On the East Coast and other parts of the country, however, a lot of places use a plain white box. While functional, it doesn’t quite provide the same happy-go-lucky vibe as digging into a candy-pink box in the office breakroom.
As it turns out, there’s a specific reason for this particular color popping up in West Coast donut shops. According to the Los Angeles Times, it was shops run by Cambodian refugees in Los Angeles in the 1970s that popularized the usage of pink boxes.
The shop owners decided to use pink boxes over more expensive white boxes in order to avoid skimping on ingredients.
“According to company lore, a Cambodian doughnut shop owner asked Westco some four decades ago if there were any cheaper boxes available other than the standard white cardboard,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “So Westco found leftover pink cardboard stock and formed a 9-by-9-by-4-inch container with four semicircle flaps to fold together. To this day, people in the business refer to the box as the ‘9-9-4.’”
The LAT notes that while the difference between pink and white would only have been few cents per box , the savings would add up quickly on the thousands of boxes sold each week.
To put it simply, a less expensive pink box meant a more delicious, better-made treat inside. Plus, on perhaps a different scale, there was the added bonus of good luck charm.
Pink boxes have been an L.A. donut shop staple ever since. And, as UPROXX pointed out, Portland, Oregon-born donuttery Voodoo Donuts has been dedicated to the pink box since its inception.
Whether the box is pink or white, you’re still getting a pretty sweet treat.