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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vegan Doughnut Smackdown: Pepple's vs. Whole Foods' Posh

Posted By on Wed, May 26, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Pepple's (left) and Whole Foods (right) chocolate vegan doughnuts. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Pepple's (left) and Whole Foods (right) chocolate vegan doughnuts.
Local bakery Pepple's Donuts claims that its retail accounts with 12 Whole Foods locations in Northern California and Nevada were canceled one by one, and vegan "imposter donuts" sold at half the cost of a Pepple's soon replaced his product in the grocery cases. We wanted to eat a lot of doughnuts get to the bottom of which is the superior sinker, so, after hitting up Pepple's kiosk in the Ferry Building, we drove straight to Whole Foods on California to conduct our own taste test.

That Whole Foods carries six flavors of its "Posh Vegan Donuts" (chocolate, chocolate peanut, maple, maple coconut, sugar crumb, and plain cake), while Pepple's currently offers at least 16 varieties. The plain cake was the biggest success at Whole Foods, the only one we'd think of purchasing again and a worthy competitor to Pepple's comparable plain glazed. But eating each company's take on chocolate really highlighted the differences between the products. Pepple's was larger and had a light and airy crumb, while the Posh was more dense, even though it was smaller. The former benefited from a creamy frosting; the Posh chocolate icing had a brittle texture. The absence of dairy and other animal products seemed more apparent with Posh, which tasted more like a restrictive doughnut than Pepple's did.

Pepple's head doughnuteer Josh Levine blogs about how the Whole Foods products use genetically modified and nonorganic ingredients, while Pepple's is all-organic and does not use anything that falls under the GMO umbrella. This helps keep the Whole Foods consumer cost to 99 cents per doughnut, rather than the $2-$2.50 that Pepple's charges. He does (reluctantly, it seems) offer a small compliment: "On a positive note, a couple of their flavors are quite good ― for a low-quality ingredient profile product; cherry and vanilla crumb. Very nice, both of them! (Although reminiscent of Pepples' cherry and vanilla cookie.) Hats off for that."

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Tamara Palmer


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