Krispy Kreme is synonymous with deep-fried, sugar-glazed dough, which is why we were utterly confused when Business Week told us that “Krispy Kreme Wants To Be Good For You.” You read that right. Apparently, Chief Executive Office James Morgan wants customers to stop pigeonholing his company as a coffee-and-doughnuts chain meant for rare indulgence (or obese regulars); he’s aiming to win our regular breakfast money with healthier fare like orange juice, yogurt, and oatmeal.
This is just one of Morgan’s plans to raise Krispy Kreme’s profits, and it’s coming in the midst of already-impressive growth; the company’s stock has more than doubled under him, and last month it posted its highest quarterly profits since 2004. But he think they can do better than that, by offering something healthy alongside their staple donuts (served warm):
We weren’t getting a lot of verbal complaints. But we also were not getting the sales we thought we should.
From a business perspective, this might be a smart move. (Or not, depending on who you talk to; plenty of people interviewed by Business Week seem to think they don’t stand a chance against chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, who’ve already forayed into healthy(er) breakfast offerings.) But from a consumer’s perspective, this is hardly good news for our health or our pockets.
First of all, if you’re looking for healthy breakfasts in a doughnut shop, you’re either self-sabotaging your nutrition or you really, really need to learn how to grocery shop. Buy some yogurt over the weekend (for less than half the price you’ll pay at any fast food chain) and throw it in your purse on the way to work if you don’t have time to eat it at home. Want oatmeal? Keep a stock of some instant varieties (there are healthy varieties, mind you) at your desk and add hot water while you’re waiting for your computer to boot. (Bonus: You won’t be tempted to buy a doughnut instead.)
Second of all, the time and energy you spend stressing over ingredient lists at fast food chains because you don’t totally trust the ingredients in their food isn’t worth it. Again: Go to the grocery store. Take 10 minutes to prep some hard-boiled eggs for the week; throw in an apple and yogurt. You know what’s in the food you make without scratching your head over a brochure or harassing employees for nutrition facts.
I know some people will think I should be championing any chain that wants to clean up their act for consumers, because putting more nutritious food on the market is a good thing, right? I suppose there will be parents who take their kids for a doughnut and are happy to have an option beyond “partake or starve.” But in general, I think we already have plenty of places to buy healthy food; dubious menu items at Krispy Kreme are more likely to boost company profits than anyone’s overall health.