Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gluten-free Dunkin’ Donuts debate



When Dunkin' Donuts announced it was planning to roll out a gluten-free donut and muffin nationwide, we posted the news on our Facebook page.
Gluten-free consumers started responding immediately. Many rejoiced. Others paused to voice some concern about cross-contamination issues. And some complained that another unhealthy product was making its way into the gluten-free market place.

Here are some examples of what they said:

"Being from the northeast, aka the land of Dunkin, this is excellent news. Now kids and grownups near DD can more easily participate in school and office donut days."

"As the mother of a gluten sensitive child, this is excellent news! We don't often eat donuts but it is great that Eva won't have to feel deprived if we do!"

"Are they going to be kept in the wrappers until the customer consumes them? Cross contamination is a huge issue with places that claim to have gluten free products!"

"Cross contamination?"

"I wish people could understand to truly live a healthy life you need to give up those foods that are in the end going to just make you fat and cause different diseases."

"Sad part is, the media is calling these products "healthy." It may be safe for us celiacs, but it is nowhere near healthy."

The varied reactions don't surprise me. Whenever a mainstream company adds a gluten-free product, the ever-growing gluten-free consumer base demonstrates just how diverse it really is.

I suspect you would put yourself roughly in one of the groups above. I know I do.

Overall I am glad to have mainstream companies provide options for gluten-free customers. Part of the reason is the number of years my family has been contending with the gluten-free diet. Twenty to be exact. For much of that time there seemed no hope you'd ever be debating whether a gluten-free donut at Dunkin' was a good thing or not. You expected that the coffee was all that would ever be safe.

When you live with very few choices for a very long time I think you come to appreciate them more.

Like many in the United States, we have a Dunkin’ Donuts shop right around the corner. We go there every once in awhile, though not enough to pose a health risk to those in the family who are not gluten free. Now my daughter, who has celiac disease, can join us and have something to eat. I don't think she'll overdo it, just as other family members have not.

But she no longer has to eat something before we go or carry along something from home. She can still just have coffee if she'd like. The difference is she gets to choose just like everyone else.

In part that's possible because Dunkin' Donuts has taken steps to prevent the cross contamination that is a legitimate worry for those who have celiac disease and gluten intolerance. The company, which has been test marketing the gluten-free options for a few months, is offering products that are prepared in a dedicated facility and packaged to protect their gluten-free integrity. (We’ll have more details on the gluten-free products in a story in the Sept./Oct. issue of Gluten-Free Living.)

So count me in the column of those doing a little happy dance over the Dunkin' Donut news. I respect anyone who swears they will never eat a gluten-free Dunkin' donut or muffin because it's unhealthy. You have the right to make that choice. And now gluten-free men and women who would occasionally like to enjoy a donut and coffee for a morning meeting or a breakfast date, and the children who’d like to stop for a donut and milk, have a choice too.

Amy Ratner

16 comments:

RTB1630 said...

While I can share your enthusiasm I am more concerned about the unhealthy, preservative and sugar loaded GF products rapidly proliferating on the market, not to mention my worry over cross contamination. My celiac was under control until I started using so many processed foods, GF though they may be. RTB1630

Gluten Free Vegan's eat what?? said...

Yes it's junk food. But isn't it nice to have a choice to eat it or not? I cannot tell you how many times we have been travelling and there are no options for me. Nothing! Finally someone is trying to put something out there nationally in the event a gluten free person wants a donut or a muffin. I am thrilled to see them make these offerings because it's nice to have the choice, finally!

Jeanne Allie said...

Nice to have that choice. I'd have to check for my other allergens, as well, and I'd also want to know where they're made and packaged...gluten-free facility? Otherwise, not a possibility for me. But, since I don't eat stuff like that anyway, won't be an issue. Yes, it's 'healthy' in that it (might not) given me a gluten allergy---but that's all. I still consider donuts an unhealthy food that I don't eat.

3874bc1e-e8ec-11e2-a070-000bcdcb471e said...

People need to give it a break. Just because we're gluten free, doesn't mean that we should not have options, healthy or not. I eat very well but appreciate the ability to grab something quick on the go, or while away from home, so I'm not starving. People should have choices. It is up to them to make the right choice for themselves. If we are going to go as far as saying DD should not sell GF products because they aren't healthy, then they, and just about every restaurant out there should close their doors. Unreal!

kas said...

I am thrilled by this news. Not that I'll be eating donuts very often, but exciting to have more and more options out there for us.

kas said...

I'm thrilled by this news. Granted donuts aren't something I will eat very often, but I am so happy to see more gluten free options becoming available.

HMM said...

I've never had anything from DD, not even before my celiac diagnosis, but I understand that some would like to have that option. So I guess overall this is positive news. My main concern in the world of GF is that too many people still think it's just some fad diet and nothing to be taken too seriously. And when that person is responsible preparing your food, that is not such a good thing...

mpv61 said...

If they have sufficiently guarded against cross contamination, as it sounds like from the article, I'd be thrilled. I could pick up a dozen donuts for the gluten-eaters in the family and a few GF donuts for my daughter and me.

How nice to be able to be "normal" and get something quick that won't make us sick. Maybe I'd have one once a week or maybe just a few times a year, but having the option would be huge.

Anne said...

So happy that there will be a gluten free item at Dunkin Donut. It is up to the individual person to make the correct healthy choice. A GF donut once in awhile will be a welcomed treat for me!

Julia said...

As a person who rarely eats junk food but has a lot of relatives in MA, where sometimes Dunkin is the only choice, I am tickled to have quick travel food that's safe. Moderation in all things is all I have to say to people worried about the calorie and chemical load.

Gods_Texan said...

Yeah, it may be junk food, but so what??? If people want to eat it, then let them.

I, for one, think it's awesome to have so many choices now, with DD being the icing on the...donut! When my boys and I first started down this GF path some 17 years ago, there were literally only a handful of options available!

I cheer for each new option that comes available, and let each person choose whether or not to indulge! CHEERS!

beautyndisaster said...

I'm delighted. I can't tell you how many times I've had to go on an empty stomach because there wasn't a.single GF.option. Sometimes id rather have a little snack then starve. it's nice to just be included.for a.change.

Van Waffle said...

Over the past five years I have shifted to eating much more healthily. Realizing I was gluten-sensitive was only part of it. I also have high cholesterol, and became more concerned about supporting local farmers. After going gluten free in 2008, beginning in 2011 I dropped virtually all processed foods and began cooking our meals from scratch as much as possible. But in the past year I've realized that being legalistic about what I eat is counter-productive. If I crave healthy foods like citrus and avocados but can never have them (because they don't grow in Ontario), I become resentful about of all my healthy commitments. I've been returning to the old philosophy: everything in moderation. No gluten, of course, but the only thing I really miss is a good baguette, and find many of the alternatives are better than what I had before. So while I believe that we must educate ourselves as a society toward healthier eating, we won't get there by rules and restrictions. Choice is good.

fnf said...

oh geez!
it's dunkin' donuts for crying out loud...
it won't be a 'healthy' choice, that's for sure...
and though i would LOVE if they offered a g-f egg sandwich (also not exactly healthy) i am not going to complain that they are serving *gasp* more junk food. donuts is their bread and butter.
its just another choice.
if you don't like it, don't buy it. simple as that!

livingwheatfree said...

I think it's absolutely wonderful that there is a gluten free option at a chain bakery like Dunkin' Donuts. I personally can't eat the gluten free products because there are multiple ingredients in them that I'm allergic to, but I'm really happy for anyone who can eat them. :)

Dragonfly Gluten Free said...

No it's not healthy, but I love having the option available. I loved donuts from DD prior to having Celiac, and have a total weak spot for them. I also travel alot, and yes I pack my own food, but when you're traveling for business, sometimes it's not the easiest to bring extras, or on a long road trip where it's nice to stop and eat with the group. It's nice to feel you have options if you want to take them(plus food in a cooler in a hot car for several days starts to get gross). I hate going to starbucks getting my coffee and staring longinly at the case of treats... Then grabbing a nut bar.