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R14 for a hot dog roll 'doughnut'?! Baker's off-recipe choice is jaw-dropping

01 April 2022 - 15:28
Hot dog rolls with a sweet dessert topping, as sold at a supermarket bakery.
Hot dog rolls with a sweet dessert topping, as sold at a supermarket bakery.
Image: Sohana Maharaj

A supermarket bakery filled hot dog rolls with artificial cream, topped them with colourful sprinkles and called them doughnuts.

No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke — it’s apparently what an employee at Pick n Pay Northgate’s in-store bakery decided to create, and the bakery has been selling them for about R14 each.

Sohana Maharaj couldn’t believe her eyes.

“My local Pick n Pay is putting dessert cream in hot dog rolls and trying to pass them off as doughnuts,” she tweeted, with a photo of the dodgy doughnuts. “To clarify, I know what a cream bun is. This is not a cream bun. It’s a hot dog roll, not a sweetened bun.”

In the past, that store had sold “an actual doughnut”, Maharaj said. “I visited the shop for the first time in about three months yesterday, and saw the hot dog rolls. My jaw dropped.”

Responding, Pick n Pay told TimesLIVE a staff member had gone “off recipe”.

“This is not the PnP dessert bun that our customers have come to love, which is a round roll made from delicious sweet dough. Unfortunately a staff member used fresh hot dog rolls instead. This was addressed as soon as it was brought to our attention,” it said.

There’s a sweet kicker to this doughy disaster story: “As a way to make it up to our customers, Pick n Pay Northgate will be offering their regular dessert buns for half price this weekend — April 2 and 3.”

Explained: When is it cream, or a 'dessert topping'

Legally, unless a doughnut is filled with dairy cream — the expensive, traditional stuff — it can’t be called a cream doughnut.

For years retailers got away with calling their imitation cream products “cream cakes” and “cream doughnuts”‚ despite legislation — the Agricultural Products Standards Act — prohibiting it.

That changed dramatically in 2010 when the then department of agriculture‚ forestry and fisheries issued a notice to all retail outlets and the food and beverage industry‚ ordering them to label their imitation cream products correctly — “imitation cream”‚ “dessert topping” or “modified cream”.

But while some retailers are playing by the rules by openly disclosing the non-dairy nature of the “cream” on their baked goods labels‚ others aren’t declaring the nature of the cream at all. A few years ago, the label on Checkers’ creamy cake labels carried the initials S/D/T, which, on enquiry, turned out to be “sweet dessert topping” — one of the permitted descriptors for imitation cream‚ but only when written out in full.

As a general rule‚ if it looks like whipped cream but the label doesn’t specify that it’s real dairy cream‚ it’s not.

CONTACT WENDY: E-mail: consumer@knowler.co.za; Twitter: @wendyknowler; Facebook: wendyknowlerconsumer

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