International production of donuts could be radically changed with the development of a method that reduces fat content by 40 percent, saturated fat content by 45 percent and calorie count by 20 percent, according to research group IGD.

The method was developed by CSM, a global provider of bakery products and ingredients, which has filed a patent for the innovation. CSM has been working on technology to reduce fat content in iced and sugared ringed donuts for over six years now. The company claimed that not only are the qualities of the product retained but they are even preferred by consumers. A study including 200 UK consumers commissioned by CSM revealed that 71 percent of consumers who tasted both the new donuts and donuts prepared in the traditional way found the former more appealing.

Donuts are usually fried in oil, which gives them their unique taste and appeal but it also means that they are calorie-dense and rich in fat. The innovative technology for producing the new Sunfry Baking donut mimics the process of frying but eliminates the negative consequences of fried oil on health. For best results, the dough needs to contain not more than 10 percent fat by weight of flour, CSM noted.

The technology is based on spraying a dough mixture with hot cooking fat at temperature of about 150-200 degrees C for two to 40 seconds. CSM said that a dipping method was also possible. The donut is then baked in hot air for between 20 and 600 seconds and in infrared rays for one to 20 seconds, either simultaneously or one after the other. This method gives the dough structure a thin crust but does not dry the product on the inside, as a regular baking process would. As a result, donuts manufactured this way are healthier and have better nutritional composition, which makes them suitable for a healthy diet.

Another advantage of the method is that it allows the use of sunflower oil, which contains lower amounts of saturated fat compared to other frying oils. However, since sunflower oil is liquid at room temperature, donuts fried in it would be too greasy.

CSM has been trying to tackle two of the main challenges in promoting healthy eating. The first one is the production of food products that are healthy but convenient and accessible, so that consumers can quickly incorporate them into their diet on a daily basis. The second challenge is creating foods that are useful to people by improving their nutritional qualities. The new method meets both challenges and could bridge the gap between tasty treats and healthy diets, the company said.

According to Kerrie Medlicott, global director for health and wellness at CSM, the method is unique to the market. There are other methods for fat reduction that other companies apply but they all compromise the taste and the texture of the products, she said. The Sunfry Baking donuts combine the best of taste and nutrition, Medlicott added.