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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 12:32 GMT
Fat Profits: Making dough
Krispy Kreme coffee and doughnut
Fatty fast foods are blamed for the obesity epidemic.

Doughnut retailer Krispy Kreme has landed in the UK.

The arrival of this latest American fast food outlet, which has been widely endorsed by celebrities and featured in Hollywood films, has sparked concerns about rising obesity.

Krispy Kreme plans to roll out 25 stores in the UK in the next five years and is aiming to change the way the British view doughnuts.

"I would like to think everybody at some stage during their working week or their weekend would have a cup of coffee and a doughnut," Managing Director Don Henshall told the BBC's Money Programme.

The company will shortly open its second store in the UK, in a retail park in Enfield, North London.

Obesity epidemic

The Krispy Kreme team are no stranger to bringing new products to the UK.

Don Henshall, was managing director of Diesel Jeans when they launched in the UK and has teamed up with Gabrielle Shaw Communications which did the publicity for Starbucks during their UK launch.

But in the midst of an obesity epidemic hitting Britain, there are concerns about another American fast food import which sells high fat, high sugar foods, coming to the UK.

In the USA, where one in three adults are obese, 10 billion doughnuts are consumed every year in a business with an estimated turnover of $5bn.

Critics are worried that the UK could face similar problems.

Fat chance

However Krispy Kreme is facing stiff competition in Britain from Philip Green's British Home Stores which has recently launched its Great British Doughnut.

Coca Cola is an icon, MacDonald's is an icon and Krispy Kreme is about to become one
Marion Nestle
New York University professor of nutrition and author of Food Politics

In partnership with the British bakery manufacturers Tent Dome, they plan to take on the might of the American giant and will roll out their 15 varieties in 50 BHS stores by the end of the year.

"I think we can beat them," said Broderick Munro-Wilson, chairman of Tent Dome.

"We can certainly beat them on our own home turf, but maybe on their own game [as well]," he said.


The Krispy Kreme doughnut has created a cult of followers.

Bill Clinton and Russian president Vladimir Putin have been spotted tucking into one, and so have Hollywood stars such as Bruce Willis and Nicole Kidman, as well as pop icons like Madonna.

Even critics like Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University and author of "Food Politics" admits that "Coca Cola is an icon, MacDonald's is an icon and Krispy Kreme is about to become one".

Krispy Kreme has 360 stores worldwide and they have opened more than 70 of those in the last year.

Since being floated on the stock exchange in April 2000, its profits have increased elevenfold.


But unlike most successful public companies, Krispy Kreme does not advertise.

Instead it specialises in fundraising in schools, sponsorship of children's sports matches and even supplying doughnuts to children who achieve good grades.

Such marketing techniques have worked in the US.

But in the UK, parents, teachers and health campaigners are up in arms about what they call cynical marketing tactics aimed at getting British children to eat more fat.

Therefore, in order to triumph in the UK, Krispy Kreme must not only see off the challenge from the BHS Great British Doughnut.

The American operator must also overcome the voices of health campaigners.

And it must convince Brits to eat a lot more doughnuts.

"Fat Profits: Making dough" was broadcast on Wednesday 17 March at 1930 GMT on BBC Two.

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