Dunkin' with more work to do on sodium reduction

by Eric Schroeder
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The restaurant chain said it has reached 25% of its goal by reducing the sodium in its hot chocolate, ham and eggs, and plans to continue to test sodium reductions in other menu items.

CANTON, MASS. — Dunkin’ Brands Group has made a lot of progress on goals set in the areas of sustainable packaging, sustainable sourcing and climate and energy, but when it comes to progress on goals set back in 2012 in the area of nutrition, the Canton-based quick-service restaurant chain is falling a bit flat.

In “Broadening Our Horizons,” the company’s third Corporate Social Responsibility report and first in two years, Dunkin’ provided an update on three nutrition initiatives first set forth in 2012.

First, the restaurant chain failed to deliver on its goal of launching a gluten-free donut and a gluten-free muffin as an optional program nationwide by the end of 2013. Dunkin’ tested a gluten-free cinnamon sugar donut and blueberry muffin in select U.S. markets during 2013, but the products failed to resonate with consumers.

“After assessing the results of the test, sales numbers and feedback from our guests and our franchisees, we determined we are not in a position to successfully launch the products nationally,” Dunkin’ said in its C.S.R. report. “We recognize the importance of providing our guests with many options and remain committed to exploring ways to offer alternative choices for guests with dietary restrictions.”

A second goal set forth in 2012 was to offer a minimum of two Baskin-Robbins Flavor of the Month flavors and four prepack feature flavors that meet BRight Choices criteria during 2013 and 2014. BRight Choices have between 80 and 140 calories per 2.5-oz scoop. Dunkin’ said it did not meet this goal due to a change in strategy to better meet the demands of today’s consumer.

“Today’s guest wants us to address a variety of diet, health and allergen concerns and wants access to more lactose-free, dairy-free, no sugar added and Greek yogurt flavors. As such, in 2013 and 2014, we made the decision to offer better-for-you flavors meeting standards beyond our BRight Choices criteria, in order to offer more choice, accommodate guests with dietary restrictions, and focus on more broad appeal flavors. We focused on new and innovative flavors like our lactose-free honey apple ice cream, no sugar added Chocolate Chocolate Chip ice cream, Super Yumberry Greek frozen yogurt and dairy-free chocolate sorbet as alternatives to traditional ice cream selections — all of which address a wide variety of diet, health and allergen concerns. In 2015, we will be evolving our BRight Choices strategy to allow us to continue to innovate beyond the current standards.”

Finally, Dunkin’ committed to reduce sodium by 10% across its entire Dunkin’ Donuts menu by the end of 2015. The restaurant chain said it has reached 25% of its goal by reducing the sodium in its hot chocolate, ham and eggs, and plans to continue to test sodium reductions in other menu items in order to achieve its stated goal by the end of 2015.

In addition to continuing to track on its stated sodium reduction goal, Dunkin’ has identified three other nutrition goals for 2015-16:

• Reduce the sugar content in its U.S. Dunkin’ Donuts beverage portfolio by 10% by Dec. 31, 2017.

• Implement new DDSMART guidelines, including calorie, sugar, sodium and saturated fat thresholds by Dec. 31, 2015.

• Test new Baskin-Robbins smoothies with a reduced amount of sugar and calories in the United States by the end of 2015.

“‘Broadening Our Horizons’ represents our progress in sustainability efforts over the past two years, as well as our commitment to our stakeholders to continue to do more in the future,” said Karen Raskopf, Dunkin’ Brands chief communications officer and co-chair of The Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation.

For the full report, click here.
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