Skip to content

Dunkin' Donuts Ditching Dyes

Artificial coloring will no longer be used in its products

colorful  Donut

Getty Images

Although the doughnut icing will be made from more natural methods, products will still retain their traditional bright colors, according to the company.

As part of a rolling effort to create a more "clean" product, Dunkin' Donuts will alter its recipes to remove all artificial dyes from its baked goods.

The company originally announced the move in March, but decided to speed up the process as a New Year's resolution this week. The dyes have already been removed from all doughnuts sold in the United States, both at their own locations and in restaurants and stores. The chain said that its goal was to "meet the evolving needs of our guests, including their preference for more nutritional transparency and simpler ingredients, while maintaining the great taste and fun, vibrant colors expected from Dunkin’ Donuts." 

"Our biggest challenge was replacing the artificial dyes in donuts with fruit juices and other extracts while balancing the flavor profile and bright colors. It took years of research and development to get it just right, and we couldn’t be happier with the final product," wrote Rick Golden, Dunkin' Brands "manager of donut excellence," in a blog post. (Homer Simpson will be so relieved that his favorite neon pink doughnut has been saved!)

By the end of the year, the company's entire menu will feature cleaner ingredients, including frozen drinks. The pastry chain is joining a growing number of companies making the decision to remove dyes. In 2015 Nestle took out artificial coloring from 250 chocolate products, and General Mills did the same for its Lucky Charms cereal and other products, CNN reported. 

Most artificial food coloring is used strictly for cosmetic purposes, and some studies based on animal research have shown serious health effects, according to CNN. The FDA allows for the use of artificial food dyes if manufacturers meet safety requirements.