In one of those stranger than fiction things, it appears that Dunkin Donuts is planning to introduce gluten-free donuts by the end of this year which leaves me wondering…for who?
You see, back before I knew what was wrong with me, I loved Dunkin Donuts. I think I had an average of two donuts a week in there. A large coffee, some donuts and I was happy. Now of course, I would barely be willing to drink the coffee in a place where flour hangs in the air. Which is the essence of the issue. People who eat gluten-free seem to fall into three different categories, none of whom is the Dunkin Donuts customer.
The first group is celiacs like me. We require dedicated oil, dedicated fryers, a change of gloves when handling our food, a severe scrubbing routine for electric mixers (I worked in a restaurant, between batches of perfectly sanitary cake batter, mixers were often rinsed, not scoured) and other cross contamination routines to ensure our safety. My guess is that we will not be comfortable with their standards. I am sure they are more than sufficient to avoid food borne illnesses, but we require a level of vigilance that I don’t always see.
The second group are elite athletes and health buffs. Not to make too big a deal out of it, but these are not exactly big time donut customers. Health buffs have largely figured out that deep fried, frosted bread is not magically made healthy when the gluten in removed. I see occasional binges from this group, but not a customer to rely on. People who have decided to give up gluten in the absence of a medical condition are not the same people who eat a lot of donuts….they just are not.
The third group are members of the Autism or ADHD communities working on elimination diets. These diets typically exclude dairy and corn as well as gluten and sometimes they also exclude eggs and soy as well. So this plethora of products that include dairy and have cornstarch as their leading ingretiens, are likely to suffer. A gluten free donut made out of cornstarch and dairy is not going to attract this custromer.
Anyway, I don’t see how this story ends up with a happy ending for Dunkin Donuts. If you want to read more on the subject, here is the article. Enjpy!