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All Questions: Why are so many LA donut boxes pink?

This story is part of LA — us. to see. You! In the second issue of Image, we will explore different perspectives of the city. See the complete package here.

Why are so many SoCal donut shops using pink boxes?

Tiffany has a Robin Egg Blue Box. The French fashion house Hermes uses a distinctive shade of orange, and Christian Louboutin’s heels are instantly identified by a flash of red soles.

What do we have across Southern California? It will be a carnation pink box. This certainly means that the contents are independent bakery donuts. We’ve been thinking a lot about these pink boxes lately. Perhaps the donut Friday tradition, organized by a few colleagues, is one of the few we’ve missed about the office environment. The Sugar Rush wasn’t too late when the Peptobis Morpink package landed on the counter before the pandemic. Why do so many donut shops in the LA area prefer this particular shade?

It turns out that we are not the first to think about this peculiarity. Colleague David Pearson, who worked on this topic in 2017, closely linked cotton candy colors to mom and pop donut shop boxes, especially from Cambodian refugees and two entrepreneurs. We recognize the achievements of Rand’s Cambodian-American community. Donut King’s Ted Ngoy (“g” is silence) and then Protéje Nin Yen.

No one remembers which of the two men (or both) is ultimately responsible for the color choice. But Peter Yen, son of Nin Yen and manager of bakery supplier Santa Anna Packaging, knows why it happened in the early 1980s.

“There are two reasons,” says Yen. “At first it was a cost. They were cheaper than a white box. Second, they originally wanted a red box. Red is lucky for Chinese culture and many Cambodians who came are lucky. [to the U.S.] At that time, I was a Chinese Cambodian. They asked for a red box, but for some reason it turned pink. “

The first acceptance of a Cambodian-American-owned donut shop was a box color of far beyond choice. According to Yen, La Mirada, California-based Santa Ana Packaging believes that pink tends to be strongest in California, Arizona, and parts of the Pacific Northwest. Colors are still popular, but there have been significant changes as the younger generation of social media savvy began to steer at mom and pop stores.

“They wanted a branded box,” Yen said. “Some people want pink, but others want a complete logo. It’s more important than color. They want something that stands out on Instagram.”

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All Questions: Why are so many LA donut boxes pink?

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