Who wouldn’t want a job title like Manager of Doughnut Excellence? That’s what Ron Golden gets to call himself. In an age when people are becoming more and more health conscious, and fast food has suffered repeatedly for the perception that it contributes to bad health and the obesity problem in the country, selling fast food is not as easy as it used to be.
You either have to just embrace the fact that the food you are selling is unhealthy and go along the whole comfort food route, or you try and change something fundamental in the ingredients and then let people know about that, or you toe a middle line that changes things a little and then amplify its significance. Some people don’t like the notion of health food, because it is perceived as not tasting great, so it can be a strange territory to navigate – making something seem a little healthier while not alienating your customers who don’t want that.
It’s not like anyone is ever going to try and market a donut as health food, but being able to demonstrate they are healthier than they were may set some minds at rest, and may win over a few people sat on the fence. Ignoring the impact of eating regular sugar on the body – at least you can cut down on some of the artificial stuff that may have been making you feel bad.
The concept of cleaner ingredients is something of a trend of late, and they aren’t the only company moving in that direction. General Mills found that 49% of households were trying to remove artificial ingredients from the food they buy, and sought to help with that goal. If it makes good business sense, it seems that is going to drive change as much as any desire to make sure that people are eating healthy. Breakfast cereal is considered a snack food rather than a healthy food to start the day, so they have been having a similar image problem.
It makes sense to get ride of these things because these ingredients have been linked to everything from cancer to birth defects, which understandably scare people away from products. Who wants their kid to have behavioral problems because they like to eat junk food, or because sometimes you don’t want to cook? Even if the changes you make are something of a surface change, rather than anything fundamental, it is definitely something you can use to catch people’s attention.
MacDonalds changed their approach a little after Super Size Me came out, and while no one is going there to eat well, a salad or a portion of fruit can definitely dress up a burger and fries and make it look a little better.
It’s not that they’re illegal, per the FDA, but the dyes serve no other purpose than making the food look cosmetically better. People haven’t really been fooled by them for a long time now, but the urgency of removing them from your diet didn’t really hit that hard until studies and experience over a significant period of time have repeatedly pointed to the problems being caused.
What is it worth to someone to know that part of their donut excellence is that they are marginally better for you than they were?