The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is the longest running cable television programming event in history. Every summer since 1988 we’ve been welcoming programming about sharks — and shark attacks — into our living rooms. Its beginnings as educational television have evolved somewhat over the years with more entertainment-oriented programming.
It’s become so entertainment-oriented that this year, Dunkin Donuts has gotten in on the act. They’ve struck up a partnership with the Discovery Channel, stating in their press release that “this year, Shark Week runs on Dunkin.”
Introducing the Shark Bite donut.
If you’re wondering how on earth Dunkin can bring the flavor of the ocean to a donut — well, thankfully, they didn’t. This one is pure promotion. The Shark Bite donut is simply a yeast donut decorated to look like a life preserver with bright red and white icing. The promotional aspect is a contest inviting customers to “Take a Bite, Take a Pic.” Contestants are asked to share a selfie taking a bite out of their favorite Dunkin breakfast item on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #DDSharkWeek to become eligible to win prizes that include a $100 Dunkin Donuts Card and a Shark Week Prize Pack. Selfies will be shared on Shark After Dark, the final evening talk programming closing out each day of Shark Week.
Sounds like fun. But what about that Shark Bite donut?
Sorry, but it’s not as much fun as the contest. Let’s take a look at the ingredient list:
Donut: Enriched Unbleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron as Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Enzyme, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Palm Oil, Water, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Whey (a milk derivative), Skim Milk, Yeast, Contains less than 2% of the following: Salt, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda), Defatted Soy Flour, Wheat Starch, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Cellulose Gum, Soy Lecithin, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Artificial Flavor, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Enzyme, Colored with (Turmeric and Annatto Extracts, Beta Carotene), Eggs; 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; Red 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; Red Coloring: Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Glycerin, Modified Food Starch, Sugar, Carrageenan Gum, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid; May Contain FD&C Blue 1, FD&C Blue 2, FD&C Red 3, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Yellow 6, FD&C Yellow 5].
In case you don’t feel like counting them out, that’s about 18 controversial ingredients — all for a yeast donut that looks like a life preserver. While FoodFacts.com can’t be sure, we do think there’s a possibility that if a shark took an exploratory bite out of this donut, it might just spit it out.