Ready or not, it has arrived … pumpkin season 2015. That special time of year where you will be surrounded by pumpkin food products and beverages. Some will be more appealing than others. Some will contain more actual pumpkin than others. And some (like the following brand new donut offering from Dunkin) will be poor interpretations of the great fall vegetable.
This season, Dunkin offers us the Pumpkin Cheesecake Square Donut. One look at this carefully crafted donut and FoodFacts.com knew we were in trouble before we started. It’s a bit “brightly colored” for our taste … a big red flag regarding the content of the ingredient list. Let’s take a look at what’s going on inside this new pumpkin creation.
Fat: 15 grams
Saturated Fat: 6 grams
Sugar: 25 grams
The Pumpkin Cheesecake Square is a typical donut, which may strike some as surprising (since it’s a cheesecake donut). Somehow or another Dunkin managed to get great cheesecake flavor inside a donut without the excessive fat and calories related to actual cheesecake. Wonder how they did that? You’ll want to read the ingredient list.
Donut: Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Palm Oil, Yeast Donut Concentrate [Soy Flour, Salt, Pregelatinized Wheat Starch, Whey (Milk), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Nonfat Milk, Gum Blend (Cellulose, Guar, Acacia, Carrageenan, Xanthan), Sodium Caseinate (Milk), Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Eggs, Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Annatto and Turmeric (Colors)], Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Mono and Diglycerides; Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling: Water, Sugar, Cream Cheese [Pasteurized Cultured Milk and Cream, Salt, Stabilizers (Xanthan, Carob Bean, and/or Guar Gums)], Pumpkin Puree, Dextrose, Modified Food Starch, Contains 2% or less of the following: Glucono Delta Lactone, Palm Oil, Cultured Grade A Nonfat Dry Milk Powder, Grade A Nonfat Dry Milk Powder, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Fruit and Vegetable Juices for Color (made from carrot), Spices, Sorbic Acid (Preservative); Orange Icing: [White Icing: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Sodium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Citric Acid, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Agar, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Artificial Flavor; Orange Coloring: Orange Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Glycerin, Modified Food Starch, Sugar, Carrageenan Gum, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid; May Contain Blue 1, Blue 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5]; White Icing: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Sodium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Citric Acid, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Agar, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Artificial Flavor; Graham Crumb Topping: Unenriched Wheat Flour, Sugar, Water, Canola Oil, Brown Sugar, Grain Additive (Wheat Bran, Wheat Germ), Honey, Cinnamon, Natural Flavor, Baking Soda, Salt, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Tocopherol (Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Soybean Oil).
Our first instincts were absolutely correct. There’s A LOT of artificial food coloring in here. In addition the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling doesn’t resemble any cheesecake recipes we’ve ever seen.
Pumpkin season leaves us with plenty to be suspicious of – and with good reason. Products like this go to great lengths to provide a flavor experience that consumers have come to relate with pumpkin. At least we can see that Dunkin did put actual pumpkin in this one. The rest of it, though, feels like they really needed to stretch things to come up with something we might like to eat. But that’s the problem – the further they go, the less we want to eat it. This one is on the avoid list.