Many people assume that when they bite into a doughnut filled with a red, jammy spread it's probably made with strawberries, raspberries, cherries or perhaps even pomegranates.
But it turns out that the filling used in all jelly doughnuts is not created equal. Or created with a red fruit.
Andrew Badcock, a manager at the Australian doughnut chain Donut King recently revealed to News.com.au that some bakeries just use an apple slurry that's been dyed and flavored to resemble a berry jam.
Have doughnuts been lying to us for years? TODAY Food looked at the ingredient list of several popular chains in the U.S. to see if this revelation was indeed true.
Krispy Kreme, which makes a variety of fruit-filled doughnuts, was first up. Lo and behold, the ingredient list for its Glazed Raspberry Doughnut does indeed name "red raspberries" as one of its ingredients. The chain's doughnuts filled with both strawberry and blueberry jellies do actually contain those fruits as well.
It turns out that Canadian-based chain Tim Horton’s is also serving up jam made from real strawberries in its strawberry-filled doughnuts and its apple fritters contain real apples, too. The chain's banana cream filling, however, doesn't contain any real bananas.
But what about Dunkin'? That chain might have taken the "donuts" out of its name but it still serves up a variety of fried pastries.
The ingredients for the jelly filling used in Dunkin's jelly-filled doughnuts include corn syrup, sugar, apple juice concentrate, and "contains 2% or less" of pectin, fruit and vegetable juice and various preservatives. While fruit juice could conceivably come from any type of fruit, the word berry is noticeably absent from the list.
Unlike Tim Horton's and Krispy Kreme, Dunkin' doesn't advertise its doughnuts as being "strawberry jam-filled." They're just called "jelly donuts." Still, most red fruit spreads are made with some type of red fruit.
When asked about the lack of berries in its jelly doughnuts, a representative for Dunkin' told TODAY Food that its "Jelly Donuts" contain "an apple and raspberry-flavored jelly filling." There are no berries used in this filling but the chain said it achieves the berry-like flavor "through a combination of natural and artificial flavoring."
In previous years, Dunkin' has received attention about the ingredients used in its fruity doughnuts. In 2017, it was hit with a lawsuit after a customer complained that its Blueberry Crumb Cake doughnut was misleading consumers because it contained no actual blueberries, just dyed sugar crystals meant to resemble pieces of fruit.
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Aside from cost, however, there is actually a reason some places apparently opt out of using fruits like raspberries in their filled doughnuts.
“Many customers show a proclivity towards smoother and more consistent textures in their food choices as it’s a more familiar and comforting experience,” Badcock told News.com.au. “Pips, seeds and smaller grains tend to get caught in teeth and a lot of people don’t appreciate that sensation.”