It just so happens – and Fletcher is sure the timing is purely coincidental – that while he was thinking about low-fat, low-sugar food, the UK government was standing by to legislate against junk food and its nutritional status. are sold.
The new rules, which came into effect in October 2022, prohibit the sale of certain foods high in fat, sugar, and salt near the entrance of supermarkets, at the end of the aisle, or near the exit. Many local shopping centers await anyone who can make a donut that avoids the limits of fat, sugar, and salt. With the congressman’s pen, the stage was set for new donut wars.
The Space Race
Placement means everything in supermarkets, and the most coveted spots are at the end of every aisle. “The bottom line is that it’s useful for getting people where they need to go,” says Will Morgan, director of consumer research firm Spark Emotions. When consumers are looking for an electronic channel – Morgan’s term for a central way to connect all the others – they are influenced by advertisers who pay to make their products higher. According to Morgan’s findings, 40 percent of consumers who pause at an ad go on to view the entire process. Those few feet of shelf space at the end of the aisle aren’t just selling people potato chips; reminding consumers that the whole world of potato chips is just a short walk away.
The new regulations are an attempt to control the processes that result from unhealthy food. “The first thing we see when we walk into a supermarket is usually not the food we should be eating,” says Lauren Bandy, a nutrition researcher at the University of Oxford. But the laws have another goal: They’re trying to force food companies to change their snacks to healthier varieties that can be sold everywhere. In 2018, the UK government introduced a tax on soft drinks that contained more than 5 grams of sugar per 100 milliliters. Beverage companies scrambled to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners, and a year later most households were buying soft drinks, but with 10 percent less sugar than before.
This makes the process successful, says Bandy. While there are questions about how good sweeteners are for us, a sugar tax allows food companies to make profits and consumers to keep soda and cut back on sugar in soft drinks. For a government like the UK’s – which wants to tackle obesity without telling people what to do or upsetting the big food corporations – it was a good result.
But reformulating soft drinks is easy: It’s just a matter of replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners. In order to avoid the new laws of the British government, Fletcher would have a big problem. They needed to remove 70 percent of the fat and 30 to 40 percent of the sugar from store-bought donuts. He said: “What I realized is that once you do that, all hell breaks loose and it hurts a lot.” Fat and sugar play a surprising number of roles in donuts. They feed the yeast, increase the shelf life, improve the taste, and give a glaze on top. Change the ratios and very quickly you can have a silly doughnut.
The complex interaction of fat, protein, and sugar comes only when you put the dough in a deep fat fryer, in which most donuts are cooked.