St. Louis — Dierbergs Markets here recently announced that it is the first St. Louis supermarket to create and offer a new doughnut with zero grams of trans fat.
“Limiting trans fats is becoming an increasingly important consideration to consumers in their diets; we wanted to be at the forefront of that movement, to be in ready position as the demand increases,” said Jim Geisler, director of central baking for Dierbergs, which operates 23 stores in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Dierbergs stopped producing its own doughnuts in 2002 when it arranged a then-exclusive relationship in St. Louis as the supermarket seller of fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
“As the market had become more saturated with the availability of Krispy Kreme, the company started considering the terrific competitive opportunity to reintroduce a house doughnut,” Geisler told SN.
“About a year ago, discussions began in earnest about not only the Dierbergs doughnut reintroduction, but also to do so using a zero-gram trans fat formula.”
Dierbergs will continue to sell boxed Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts alongside its new Dierbergs doughnuts, which are available in more than 15 varieties, including glazed, chocolate iced, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, Bavarian creme and more. The new trans fat-free doughnuts will be a Dierbergs exclusive, according to Geisler.
The zero-gram trans fat designation means that a product contains a very small amount — less than 0.5 grams — of trans fat per serving.
The primary source of artificial trans fats are vegetable oils that have been “partially hydrogenated,” or injected with hydrogen to increase their shelf life and raise their melting point, making these altered oils particularly attractive for frying and baking. But a growing body of scientific research has revealed trans fats to be significantly worse for the human heart and circulatory system than regular vegetable oils or even animal fats. Trans fats raise “bad” cholesterol even as they lower “good” cholesterol, increasing risks for heart disease and stroke.
As consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the role trans fats play in cardiovascular health, supermarket delis throughout the industry have reformulated their recipes for popular items like fried chicken to work with new, trans fat-free oils. For many bakery departments, however, switching oils has posed a great challenge, particularly when it comes to indulgent treats like doughnuts.
Geisler said that Dierbergs' bakeries have been receiving requests weekly for products with zero grams of trans fat.
“We certainly recognized our customers' growing demand for zero-gram trans fat products,” he said. “And the timing for that demand meshed very well with our decision to again offer a house-made doughnut.”