Dunkin' Donuts Ups Ante With Egg White Sandwiches

Dunkin' Donuts. The words conjure up ... well, donuts. Chocolate covered. Sprinkle topped. But now, the expanding restaurant chain is jumping on the "better for you" bandwagon with both feet.

First up, a sandwich with fewer than 300 calories. On Aug. 6, Dunkin' will begin offering the new Egg White Flatbread Sandwich in Turkey Sausage and Veggie varieties as part of its new DDSmart menu that includes new and existing items that meet at least one of the following criteria: 25% fewer calories; 25% less sugar, fat, saturated fat or sodium than comparable fare, and/or contain ingredients that are nutritionally beneficial.

It should warm the cockles of nutritionists, no? One skeptic, while wondering how the new sandwich tastes, says: "Whenever I hear the phrase 'better for you,' I always want to know, 'better than what'," says Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. "A 25% reduction from a very large number is still pretty big. I suppose it's a step in the right direction, but hardly a giant step."



Nevertheless, making that step will be Rachael Ray, the brand's spokesperson, who will appear in print ads for the new Egg White Sandwich. The company says it will spend several million dollars to market the new menu, including online and TV ads that will be Rachael-free. All ads are from Hill, Holliday in Boston, the brand's AOR.

Existing products that will join the new sandwiches on the menu include a multigrain bagel and a reduced-fat blueberry muffin. The company plans to continue adding products to the menu.

CMO Frances Allen calls the effort "the start of a new branding of some of the things we were doing already, including the BFY muffin. The menus, she says, is to help guide the consumer through selections.

"We just listen to our consumers," says Allen. "They tell us they want something; we do what we can. This isn't a competitive move, it's a consumer move."

Dunkin' Donuts also has launched a partnership with Active.com. This fall, 30 Dunkin' Donuts ambassadors in select markets across the country will recruit at least 300 people to run their first 5K road race. Visitors to www.dunkindonuts.com/5KRace can also search for races in their area and access online training guides to help them run better.

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