As we celebrate International Pizza Day today, it’s only fitting to have our client Spotlight feature Hong Kong's fantastic Italian home-style pizza place, The Pizza Project.
Sustainabl. recently visited the Star Street location in Wan Chai to share a slice with the team and learn more about the story behind the brand and its sustainable packaging journey.
After working at Pirata Group’s Pici, “Pasta was not enough for us to express ourselves; we were tired of only making pasta”, Corporate Chef Davide told Sustainabl. “People were asking us, ‘where do you get a good pizza in HK’?” The team recognised a gap in the market for value-for-money pizza made in a homey style. The product fit perfectly with the Pirata Group so they decided to go ahead.
“A fun fact about our name is that The Pizza Project was the working title. After a while, it stuck and we decided to keep the name!” Marius, Pirata Group’s Head of Digital Marketing, told us. Thus, The Pizza Project was born!
With pizza being such a social food, The Pizza Project’s first location was on Peel Street in January 2020. The airy and open venue, which literally peels out onto the street, was the perfect place to bring to life their vision of connecting people by serving affordable, delicious pizza. To The Pizza Project team, pizza brings back childhood memories of good times shared with friends and family. Their ethos is to share that experience with Hongkongers, just as they do in Italy.
In the same year, The Pizza Project opened another store on Star Street in Wan Chai and then expanded to Shanghai in 2021.
With an increase in takeaway orders, the team at The Pizza Project felt they had the responsibility to help lower their impact on the environment, especially because they had noticed they were using a lot of pizza boxes. Then one rainy day under cover of The Pizza Project awnings, Davide met Richard, our Founder and CEO, like an angel appearing to answer all his sustainable packaging needs!
For The Pizza Project, sustainability is an important part of its community, from recycling and avoiding waste to creating a positive, human-centred environment. “We try to reduce our food waste where we use the whole part of the food and everything is made in-house”, Davide explained. The team believe there are greater things at stake and will keep improving themselves and certainly aim to be part of the solution in sustainability. As part of the Pirata Group, ESG becomes an important part of the business. “The pandemic was a good time to look at things from a nuts and bolts perspective, so we had a chance to look at our packaging and make sustainable decisions” Marius told us.
The Pizza Project proudly uses Sustainabl. Planet’s FSC-certified, ‘truly’ sustainable packaging, including takeaway boxes, greaseproof paper and other environmentally friendly packaging solutions, all home compostable and recyclable. As some of the most memorable takeaway boxes in Hong Kong, we wanted to know the story behind these cool and funky designs. “When you get pizza delivered, you notice the box. The faces are from scenes from Dolce Vita and vintage Italian scenes,” Davide revealed. “Designed by the Pirata Group's artistic director, the custom pizza box has been designed to stand out and to bring the brand a real pop and fun side to bring a never seen before identity. The team decided to make an all-over printing on the pizza box and to use all the sides possible to bring messages and create interaction with their guests.
When you open a Pizza Project pizza, there is a whole story and a fun message that makes you smile even before you enjoy our delicious pizza. It's a human brand and it was one of the priorities to bring smiles and good vibes with the design.”
The Sustainabl. team was lucky enough to try the most popular pizza, Carbonara Pizza with quail eggs, pancetta, tomato sauce and fior di latte. “We took a lot of time tasting and we also chose pizzas toppings,” says Davide. As a nod to their Picci roots, some of the toppings are inspired by pasta. Davide and Andrea are both trained chefs so they design the pizza in a way that is chef quality and skill behind each topping.
This International Pizza Day intersects with our special Valentine's Day pizza, a spectacular heart-shaped pizza to share with your loved ones. From the 9th - the 14th Feb they’ll be hosting a scavenger hunt, hiding pizza boxes around a 5km radius of the restaurants you’ll find a heart in the box - bring that into the shop to get your Valentine's Day special treat!
We’re always excited to see what is next from The Pizza Project, from the WTF (What is the Flavour) Pizza series to the forthcoming soon-to-come of ‘Giro pizza’ a bottomless pizza brunch. There is never a dull moment from this team!