Everyone loves donuts, right? After all, there’s not much to dislike about fried batter topped with frosting and sprinkles. That’s why Krispy Kreme has achieved world domination, with the British buying them from the bucket as they forgo cupcakes for the transatlantic feast.
But there is a big problem with these little rings of joy. Namely, their calorie count.
So far, that is. Because former Graze boss Anthony Fletcher created a donut that sounds less than 160 calories.
Fletcher’s new brand, Urban Legend, launched this month, promising the world’s first healthy, HFSS-free donut.
Avoiding the sugar-rich toppings and frying common to regular donuts, Urban Legend’s are made in a purpose-built factory, where they are ‘steamed’ rather than fried, before a micro layer of fat is deposited on them. to mimic the taste. and texture of fried donuts.
The toppings, meanwhile, are touted as being made with “alternatives to sugar discovered in melons, pears, roots and leaves.”
I know what you are thinking: it’s too good to be true, right?
Wrong. Urban Legend donuts not only look good, they taste great too. Seriously good. They are sweet, not cloying, with no weird artificial flavors. The sensation in the mouth is there. If you didn’t know you were eating a “healthy” donut, you wouldn’t be able to guess. It is frankly astonishing.
It’s a testament to the potential of technology to transform our health when it comes to the foods we eat. Because, like it or not, there has always been a trade-off when it comes to making healthier eating choices. There are those, of course, who will claim that a handful of nuts and raisins tastes better than a big chunk of Dairy Milk. But they are lying.
Implicit in the pursuit of health has always been the understanding that buyers will need to cut back on the things they really like in order to be fitter and live better.
Despite laudable efforts to reformulate in response to policies like the sugar tax and the government’s new HFSS rules, many healthier options of indulgent classics just don’t compare to taste. Until very recently, the idea that one could really replicate the sensation and satisfaction of fat, salt and sugar with anything was quite questionable. In light of this donut, it doesn’t seem so far away.
Indeed, now it looks like we may soon see an explosion of brands and products designed from the ground up to be healthy but unhealthy tasting using cutting edge technology.
Because Urban Legend is not the only one to do so. On the contrary, the Fletcher brand is part of a small avant-garde of suppliers who hope to overturn the whole idea of ”health” in food and drink. There’s also Mindful Snacker, for example, the starter brand of crisps that makes their crisps with a proprietary process involving three different ovens to remove moisture from the potatoes before seasoning and bagging.
The list of names that do is short at the moment, as much of the technology and processes used are experimental and therefore expensive: Mindful Snacker’s kit, for example, costs £ 20million. But that will likely change if brands like these prove their worth in the market.
It is suspected that they will have no trouble attracting the attention of buyers. Because, apart from winning the lottery, not being able to eat what you want without harming your health isn’t everyone’s deepest fantasy? If this becomes possible through technology, it could completely revolutionize our approach to nutrition and diet.
It might just be a little donut. But what it represents is quite fascinating.
As Homer Simpson once said, “Donuts… is there something they can’t do?