It’s National Donut Day. While the doughnut vs. donut debate rages on, the fact is North America is obsessed with the doughy delicacies – regardless of spelling.
Not too long ago, some claimed the golden days of the donut had passed and that the bagel was poised to become top dog. But donuts are very much alive and well. They represent a whopping $3.6 billion industry in the U.S. – $12 billion worldwide. Dunkin Donuts has about 60 percent of the donut market share in the U.S. and plans to nearly double its store count over the next few decades. In large part due to donut giant Tim Horton’s, Canada is still home to more donut shops per capita than any other country in the world.
But it’s not just about sinking your teeth into a simple glazed donut and fresh cup of coffee at the local donut shop any more. The business model has expanded beyond the four walls of the physical location. In fact, between one-half and one-quarter of Krispy Kreme’s annual revenue is generated by sales to grocery and convenience stores, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. And, from the shocking new flavors popping up – like black licorice, root beer and rosemary olive oil – to the unexpected ways restaurants and people are working these delights into recipes, donuts are becoming culinary art.
Have a look for yourself. This is a sampling of the most surprising, interesting and, in some cases, mind-blowing donut creations we’ve come across:
1. Wedding donut cakes: After all, what’s a wedding without one?
2. Wonuts: This is what happens when you cross a donut with a waffle and add a dash of flare.
3. The Luther Burger: Take the most glorious burger you can imagine and replace the bun with a glazed donut. Yes, this is happening.
4. The Bronut: Just in case you get bored with the Luther Burger.
5. Sprinkled Donut Crunch: Donuts + Cereal = Brilliance
6. The Boss Hog: A donut piled high with pulled pork, potato salad and drizzled with honey BBQ sauce, served up by the Gourdough’s food truck in Austin, Tex.
7. Tom + Chee: Home of the grilled cheese donut.
8. Dead Elvis: Donut stuffed with bananas, bacon, peanut butter and jelly, served up at Psycho Donuts in Campbell, Calif.
Kudos to the folks who came up with the creations on this list. There’s something to be said for creativity and innovation. What trend do you see coming next in the donut industry? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.