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Jan 31, 2012

Feature: Inside Krispy Kreme's Home Factory

Or Q and the Donut Factory if you will. As I mentioned before Krispy Kreme flew me out to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for their Krispy Kreme VIB ("Very Important Blogger") Summit. Upon arrival, I, along with a group of bloggers, was given a tour of their factory which until very recently, did not make donuts.

The factory is actually where all Krispy Kreme donut mix starts out. I say "starts out" because in some international markets Krispy Kreme can't send a complete mix due to different laws and regulations regarding importing food so the mixes have to be tailored to wherever they are going.

While there weren't any Oompa Lumpas or river of Original Glaze for me to drown in, getting a look at the process of making donut mix was still pretty interesting and more involved then I realized.
We weren't allowed to take pictures of some of the more interesting stuff, but I still got some neat pictures to show.

I'll talk about the stuff that was photography-verboten first.

Krispy Kreme tests all the ingredients that they buy to make their mix. When you think about all the truckloads and truckloads of sugar and flour and whatnot, there's a lot of testing going on and they have a lab and food scientists onsite to do it. They get core samples of every shipment and test them to make sure they are of the correct composition.  Beyond that they also had a nifty machine that simulates the pressure of a human bite.

But they don't just test the ingredients coming in, they also test the ingredients going out. In one of the rooms we saw, there was a smaller version of the automated donut machine they use but with a shorter conveyor and nary a glaze waterfall in sight. There were racks along the walls lines with sample bags of different batches of donut mix. The whole purpose of this room was to test and make sure that each batch would make a proper donut hence the lack of glazing. The donuts made in this room don't get eaten, at least not by humans, they actually go to local farmers for feed (pig feed I think).

Here's the control center of the factory. High tech, no? Analog buttons? What?! Where's the digital touchscreen?! I often forget that Krispy Kreme has been around for a long time (They're celebrating their 75th anniversary this year!). The layout of this very old control board is a visual representation of the whole donut-mix-making process:

One of the things that we were allowed to take a picture of was the vault where they keep the original Krispy Kreme recipe in an envelope. The original recipe was purchased from a New Orleans French chef by Vernon Rudolph, Krispy Kreme's founder. We didn't get to see inside the envelope or touch it though (which means there could be a laundry list in there for all I know). It's being held by our tour guide and factory manager, Scott Atherton:
Here we have vats and vats of oil:
They were huge. There were also pallets and pallets and more pallets of bags flour and Krispy Kreme donut mix but no pictures (I'm not sure why the oil and not the bag and bags of flour and what not).

On course, there's a giant donut with the company's mission statement:

And yes, it is hollow. You can see a small fraction of mix and/or ingredients in the background.

Krispy Kreme used to roast and cup (taste) their own coffee before introducing three new coffees last year ( House Blend, Dark Roast, and House Decaf).

This table with the dentist spit dish is a coffee cupping station where people could cup/taste the coffee and then spit it out (it wouldn't do to drink too much caffeine in one sitting I guess):
Finally, here's the new donut making machine. It seems to be a slightly larger and uncurved version of the ones you find in some Krispy Kreme locations:

And before you ask, yes, I did get one fresh off the line (some of us got more than one) and yes, it was delicious!

And that was pretty much it for the factory tour. Next time, I'll write about how they made donuts in the olden days...

Disclosure: Krispy Kreme paid for my travel expenses, food, and hotel during the summit.


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2 comments :

  1. I would view Krispy Kreme (KK) with higher esteem if they could/would send those plain uneaten doughnuts to local charitable agencies for distribution to folks confronting hard times; and there is a multitude of them.

    However, sadly, and there is ample proof that sue-happy folks and the greedy lawyers that assist them, have altered USA society in a multitude of ways.

    Yes!!! At times, lawyers and clients and suing ARE needed!!!

    But basic greed is also present with profit the desire.

    Maybe Krispy Kreme HAS to avoid doing a good deed so I will not label the firm as "bad."

    Locally, it is kinda' neat to observe their donut-creating machine in operation.

    I waited for an employee to be snagged and dragged; kicking and screaming as they were dragged through the hot oil then hung to dry then packaged but the event did not happen.

    That would have hurt!!!

    Hopefully there are safeguards in place.

    Most grocery stores around these parts have a separate free-standing display showing only KK products.

    Not much competition locally though the large grocery store chains have their own donut offerings made in-store.

    The in-store donuts tend to be "denser," heavier than KK donuts.

    Along with so MANY food-types I rarely eat a donut nowadays.

    I can look and drool and reflect back to times when I would eat 4 or 5 donuts at one sitting along with a BIG cup of coffee and burp with satisfaction when done.

    Whatever..... that was an interesting story and a neato peek inside a small part of that whick is KK!!!!!!!!!

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