Inside Dunkin's Virtually Trans-Fat Free Donut

It’s been a long road but Dunkin Donuts is going virtually trans-fat free by next month. What took so long? Well, matching the yummy-but-deadly taste of trans-fat frying oil with gross-but-healthier oils is a time consuming process, according to the Boston Globe:

Doughnuts cooked with cottonseed oil had a bad aftertaste. The 100 percent palm oil bled right through the pastry, leaving an oily mess on Dunkin’s signature pink tray paper. Anyone daring enough to try one discovered a dry, yet waxy dough with a distinct flavor of palm. Nearby employees who were developing other products in the research lab would curse at them, LeClair recalled, yelling “Are you crazy?” after the team left out batches of the mystery doughnuts for them to try.

Eventually they found the right blend and secretly tested them at certain stores to see if anyone noticed. They didn’t.

Dunkin’s research and development manager, Rick Golden, one of the few people in the know, slept with his cellphone by his pillow every night during the trial, waiting for someone to call with a doughnut crisis. No one did.

Baking with the new oil blend, a deeper shade of brown than the old one, costs less than a penny more per doughnut. Dunkin’ says it is not recommending a price increase, but the decision is up to franchisees.

“Whether a trans-fat-free doughnut is going to increase sales or not, it doesn’t matter. If your competitors are making claims about trans fats, you just have to be on the right side of the issue. It’s like keeping up with the Joneses,” said Ron Paul, president of Technomic Inc., a food industry consulting group in Chicago.

Congratulations, consumers! You made Dunkin’ Donuts a tiny, tiny, tiny bit healthier. It’s just too bad they still make you fat.

The long, secret journey to a healthier donut [Boston Globe]
(Photo:Morton Fox)