Donut Fast Food Chains Can Be Surprisingly Wasteful

Food waste is an unfortunate fact of life for many restaurants, particularly large chains with strict rules about freshness and food turnover. But there's no doubt some are worse than others, and one offender is particularly shocking — donut stores. A viral TikTok checked out the dumpsters behind the iconic chain Krispy Kreme, which has been serving up its trademark hot glazed donuts since the late 1930s. The ultra-freshness of these donuts is part of Krispy Kreme's appeal. But it comes with a dark downside — an almost unbelievable amount of wasted food.

In the video, TikTokers are shown pulling out roughly 40 boxes of somewhat smushed but otherwise completely edible donuts. At six or more per box, that could feed hundreds of people. This isn't the only evidence of Krispy Kreme's wastefulness. It was also documented on Reddit in 2022 by a former employee, who posted photos of several sizeable clear trash bags filled with donuts they said were bound for the trash.

To be sure, Krispy Kreme is far from the only donut chain wasting vast amounts of still-edible food. Another viral TikTok from a Dunkin' Donuts employee showed a literal trash can filled with more than 300 donuts, which they said was a daily occurrence.

The reason and the solution

It's also a significant problem at other types of fast food chains, as demonstrated by the revelation of official forms that show how much food McDonald's wastes. There's no official reason for the wasteful practice. However, it's safe to assume it's primarily related to the daily deliveries of fresh donuts and other products that arrive early each morning. With new inventory coming in, stores have no choice but to clear out the old stuff, and the trash has traditionally been the easiest method. 

When asked directly about the practice of throwing out so much otherwise completely edible food, many chains have cited the potential for lawsuits if someone gets sick from their donated food. But HuffPost reports they're actually protected by a 1996 law that shields restaurants from liability except in cases of "gross negligence or intentional misconduct." For its part, Dunkin has had an End of Day Donation Program since 2021, which allows but doesn't require franchisees to donate a variety of products to local non-profits or food banks. 


The most wasteful fast food chain in America, #FYP #ForYou #KrispyKreme #Donut #USA #America #fastfood

♬ original sound – Blatant Reviews

If this kind of wastefulness is shocking to you, you're not alone. But you should also be aware of the many other crazy food waste facts you won't believe.