As we informed you last June, Dunkin Donuts introduced two gluten-free options to their menu: a cinnamon sugar donut and a blueberry muffin. These products were tested mainly in Boston and Miami, and Dunkin Donuts claimed they would be available nationwide by the end of 2013. We all rejoiced.
We loved this news not just for the convenience of being able to pick up a pastry with our daily coffee runs, but because Dunkin Donuts took extra precautions to make sure these products were safe for celiacs, producing them at a separate facility and individually packaging them.
Word of mouth told us that these items were selling fast, and I had faith that their recipes and options would only improve. Sadly, the party’s over. Dunkin Donuts just (very quietly) pulled their gluten-free products and trashed their plans for nationwide release.
Why did Dunkin Donuts do this?
Gluten-free fast food can be tricky, as gluten-free food comes with higher production costs, expensive alternative grains, additional production facilities and labor, and a whole slew of other things that fast food joints just don’t want to deal with.
And if any of you have seen what goes on behind the scenes at these places, avoiding cross-contamination to bring you truly gluten-free fast food can be a total nightmare. Gluten-free baked goods have shorter shelf-lives, requiring a higher product turnover. Because there is no gluten to hold the water and keep the product moist, gluten-free products go stale fast (and this is why lots of baked products are sold frozen).
Dunkin Donuts has released a statement that they will continue to explore ways to bring options to those of us who adhere to a gluten-free diet. In the meantime, all of their drinks are gluten-free, and we can hold on to hope that they will have a donut option (and hopefully Munchkins!) for us in the future.
What are your thoughts on this? Did any of you try the donuts and muffins?
Giliah Librach is a regular contributor to the CeliAct Blog. You can find Giliah on Google+.