2024 Food Trends: Focus on Doughnuts

2024 Food Trends: Focus on Doughnuts

A plain doughnut, one coated in chocolate glaze, the third with crispearls covering the surface

Doughnuts (or donuts, depending on where you’re from) are a staple item in many cultures and throughout history. They run the gamut from sweet to savory and can be found everywhere, from roadside stands to 5-star restaurants.

You can’t go wrong with the classics: chocolate, vanilla, caramel; filled, glazed, frosted. You’ve got an entire menu’s worth of doughnut iterations right there. Traditional doughnuts will always be high on your customers’ lists.

If you’re ready to shake things up, attract new customers, or maybe get in on the latest social media trend, doughnuts are the perfect blank canvas. 2024 has brought us a wealth of fun, flavorful food trends, and what could be more up-to-the-minute than fresh doughnuts that take advantage of what’s hot?

A plain cake doughnut, glazed with chocolate, and garnished with crunchy pearls

Can’t-Go-Wrong Classics

A June 2024 study found that 60% of US consumers preferred traditional glazed doughnuts, and traditional flavors continue to drive the most demand.* Proprietary research for Barry-Callebaut showed customers everywhere continue to favor chocolate, caramel, and vanilla when asked about their flavor preferences.

This is where high-quality ingredients, fun garnishes, and a solid dough recipe will set you apart from the competition and time-saving products that you can rely on can streamline production and save you money.

Go from "Standard" to "Classic" with Creative Ingredients

The right ingredients can increase the perceived value of your products for just pennies per item.

Doughnuts with multi-colored sprinkles and miniature wedges of birthday cake on top


There’s no end to creative flavor/format mash-ups lately. It’s hard to say what the next big sensation will be, but there’s almost no way to go wrong when you combine two favorite treats.

A vegan cake doughnut with white chocolate frosting and small white chocolate curls

Healthier Indulgences are Trending

There’s an ongoing trend in “free-from” foods. Consumers are looking for ways to indulge while staying true to their principles, be they dietary or environmental. As a result, vegan, low-sugar, dairy-free, and reduced-sugar are all modifiers that make a customer feel good about indulging.

Dive Deeper Into Healthy Options

Doughnuts with both toasted and fresh coconut

New Flavors

The “Swicy” trend is set to be one of the hottest food trends for 2024. Hot honey found its way onto our menus and into our hearts last year, and now it seems there’s no limit to where this trend might take us.

Authentic flavors from other cultures are a draw for customers looking for something beyond the ordinary. Ingredients like ube and matcha add flavor and naturally bright colors, spice mixes like mangonada and tajin add zing to fruity flavors, and influences from India and Southeast Asia abound in the form of spices, fruits, and traditional dessert influences.

65% of price-conscious consumers are more likely to impulse-buy products that are innovative in flavor or taste

Barry-Callebaut proprietary study, 2024
Three doughnuts: one fall-themed, one for summer, and one for Christmas

Seasonal Specials

As consumers look to learn more about the origin of ingredients and to forge a stronger connection with those who make and grow their food, the importance of local growers and purveyors becomes even more important. Taking advantage of peak-of-season ingredients and creating limited-time seasonal specials is a great way to connect with your customers and community.

Fun, holiday-themed doughnuts offer the opportunity to create a buzz, celebrate the season, and create a special item that your customers will look forward to every year.

More Trends to Explore