Dunkin’s improving its egg patty: less water, more yolk

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MIAMI - AUGUST 06: In this photo illustration, a Veggie Egg White Flatbread sandwich is seen at a Dunkin' Donuts restaurant August 6, 2008 in Miami, Florida. The sandwich is one of the items on the newly unveiled DDSMART menu which, according to Dunkin' Donuts, contains items which are healthier due to a reduced amount of calories, saturated fat, sugar, fat or sodium in comparison to similar fare. The new menu comes after Dunkin' Brands Inc., the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts, formed a nutritional advisory board last year. (Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Dunkin’ Donuts is adding more of a special ingredient to improve the taste of its egg patty: eggs.

The company says it has been testing a patty with a higher concentration of eggs, and less water and other ingredients.

On its website, Dunkin’s breakfast sandwiches appear to contain what looks like a single cooked egg. But the “fried egg” listed for the sandwiches is actually a composite that mixes together ingredients including egg whites, water, egg yolks and modified corn starch.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which is trying to step up the quality of a range of food items, said it has been testing the new egg formula for several months and that the new version should start rolling out nationally in mid-August.

The new egg patty will have 100 calories, 8 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein. That’s compared with 45 calories, 2 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein for the current egg, according to Dunkin’. The new patty will still be shaped to look like a single fried egg.

“The yolk is much fuller, it looks much more yellow,” said Dunkin’ Brands CEO Nigel Travis in a phone interview Thursday.

Other foods Dunkin’ plans to tweak include its bacon and bagels. The changes come after the company conducted research to determine how stepped-up food quality might go over with customers.

“One of the key findings in our consumer research indicates that great tasting, authentic products matter more than ever, especially to younger consumers,” Travis told analysts during a conference call following the company’s release of its second quarter results.

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. isn’t the only major chain scrambling to step up the quality of its food as it faces more competition from smaller players. McDonald’s Corp. has also been reviewing the ingredients it uses and tweaking its cooking methods in the U.S. And several chains including Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Panera have promised to simplify their recipes and phase out artificial ingredients.

For its second quarter, Dunkin’ said sales rose a meager 0.5 percent at established locations. The company, which has more than 8,500 U.S. locations, said higher prices offset a decline in customer visits.