OPERATIONS

Dunkin’ Donuts prepares gluten-free bakery items

BY Dan Berthiaume

Canton, Mass. – Dunkin’ Donuts plans to start offering gluten-free bakery items by the end of this year. Participating U.S. Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants will have the option to offer certified gluten-free bakery products, including a new gluten-free cinnamon sugar donut and a gluten-free blueberry muffin. Both items are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization, prepared in a dedicated facility and individually packaged. The suggested retail price for the gluten-free cinnamon sugar donut will be $1.89 and $2.39 for the gluten-free blueberry muffin.

“Our culinary and commercialization teams have worked very hard to create these new gluten-free menu items to be just as delicious as all of our product offerings,” said Stan Frankenthaler, executive chef and VP of product information for Dunkin’ Brands in a statement on the Dunkin’ Donuts website. “It took a great deal of experimentation to come up with the correct, unique blend of rice flours and certain starches such as potato and tapioca to replace traditional wheat flour.”

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FDA targets illegal online pharmacies

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has partnered with other international regulatory and law enforcement agencies to take action against more than 9,600 illegal online pharmacies this week. The pharmacies were illegally selling unapproved prescription medications to consumers and actions ranged from warnings to website seizures to the confiscation of more than $40 million worth of unauthorized medications.

Within the US, the FDA cooperated with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado to close down 1,677 illegal pharmacy websites. The larger coordinated action was known as Operation Panagea VI and ran worldwide from June 18-25.

The FDA says many of the sites appeared to have been operated by a single organized crime network under the name “Canadian Pharmacies,” although the drugs provided were not from Canada and also neither brand name nor FDA-approved. Many of the sites used false FDA seals of approval and names from legitimate U.S. pharmacy retailers.

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Food service demand rises on campus

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago – A growing demand for on campus food service exists among US college and university students, according to new data from Technomic. The latest Technomic College & University Trend Report shows that 69% of college students purchase food and beverage from on-campus foodservice facilities once a week or more. This is close to the 71% of college students who did so in 2009 and is a substantial gain from the 62% who paid visits to campus foodservice facilities once a week or more in 2011.

Other figures demonstrate room for foodservice and grocery retailers to expand their offerings on college campuses. For example, only 35% of students are satisfied with their school’s dining program, 44% of all students and 57% of students living on campus wish their school had grocery stores where they could shop using their meal plan and 66% of students regularly experiment with new foods and flavors.

"To keep the momentum going, campus dining operators will want to continually focus on improvements to menu variety, prices and atmosphere at on-campus dining venues," says Darren Tristano, executive VP of Technomic, Inc. "Menu variety in particular is key to retaining student patronage. Our year-over-year data indicates there’s more demand for college and university foodservice menus that feature unique items, ethnic offerings and customization opportunities. Dining programs should work to address these preferences in order to keep valuable foodservice dollars on campus."

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