Mmmmm … Doughnuts, Er, Bagels!

By Deborah Cassell

One morning a month, my company celebrates employee birthdays with a generous spread of bagels and cream cheese … until now. In January, it decided to vary the free breakfast by offering doughnuts instead.
The decision was met with mixed reviews. According to human resources, health was the primary concern people had with the switch. Of course, you can’t make everyone happy all the time, but the question remains: Which do people prefer, bagels or doughnuts?
I personally favor a toasted onion bagel with schmear over a sugary ring of cake any morning. And I’m not alone. According to an exclusive research study conducted by InsightExpress for Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, when shopping for breakfast bakery products, respondents spend an average of 11% of their total weekly grocery dollars on bagels, compared to 5% on doughnuts. (Look for more results in our March issue.) A quick poll of some Stagnito Communications colleagues revealed similar results. Here are my very unscientific findings:
“I heart doughnuts, but they are so bad for you. They are my treat to myself at meetings and hotels, when they are free. I try never to buy doughnuts. Plus, doughnuts aren’t filling at all, so you will end up eating something else. I do like bagels, but given the choice between a bagel and a doughnut, I couldn’t resist the sweet temptation of the doughnut.”

— Elizabeth Fuhrman, managing editor, Beverage Industry
“Bagels for me because I get my sweet fix from my latte.”
— Pauline Tingas, senior editor, Brand Packaging
“I prefer bagels because doughnuts are too sugary for me in the morning. Also, it’s almost impossible to make a doughnut healthy. Bagels, though by no means a very nutritious food, can be made healthier by using a light cream cheese or none at all.”
— Kelly Rehan, assistant editor, Candy Industry
“I prefer bagels. I love the heartiness of a bagel opposed to the squishy, greasiness from doughnuts. Also, I for some reason feel less guilty about finishing a whole bagel in one sitting compared to eating a fatty doughnut … although I often load my Asiagio cheese and garlic bagel with plentiful amounts of cream cheese. C’est la vie!”
— Lori Sichtermann, associate editor, PL Buyer
“Bagels, hands down. With doughnuts, you have to have a sweet breakfast. No one has made a jalapeño or veggie doughnut yet, and for that I am thankful, but sometimes you want something a little salty in the morning. Bagels give you choices, both in bagel type and schmear type. … Plus, you can make breakfast sandwiches with them. I have yet to see a doughnut breakfast sandwich. Last but not least, for some reason, I don’t feel quite as guilty about eating a bagel as I do about eating a doughnut.”
— Megan Waitkoff, associate editor, Food & Drug Packaging
“Truth be told, both doughnuts and bagels sit like an encyclopedia in my belly. … I lean toward bagels because they aren’t fried and they don’t squirt stuff out when you bite into them. And it’s easier to eat half a bagel than half a doughnut. Cutting a doughnut in half seems unnatural, but eating half a bagel — you’re halving it anyway. … And I know this isn’t necessarily true, but bagels seem like they’re better for me than doughnuts. … I say all this as someone who grew up just outside of Krispy Kreme-ville, NC. Maybe I just had too many glazed dozens when I was 15.
— Nick Roskelly, managing editor, Stagnito’s New Products magazine