Dunkin' Donuts is poised to beat McDonald's Corp. and Starbucks Corp. in introducing the fast-food industry's first gluten-free pastries.
The coffee and breakfast chain owned by Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. will sell gluten-free doughnuts and muffins in all its U.S. stores this year, Stan Frankenthaler, the company's executive chef, said in an email.
“We recognize the importance of providing our guests with many options, including alternative choices for people with food and dietary restrictions,” he said. The pastries are packaged separately to avoid contamination from other foods that contain wheat flour.
Gluten-free foods may be the next trend for restaurant chains and coffee shops as they try to entice customers and increase sales with healthier items — even though wheat-free doesn't necessarily mean fewer calories. Domino's Pizza has gluten-free crusts, and Starbucks, the world's largest coffee-shop operator, is considering creating some gluten-free items after it bought a bakery that sells organic breads, a company spokeswoman said.