Tempe store encourages students to eat doughnuts, not Tide Pods

Hurts Donut Co. offers its "Forbidden Fruit" treat as an edible alternative to Tide Pods

The Tempe location of Missouri-based doughnut shop Hurts Donut Company has joined other locations in offering an alternative to the dangerous trend of people eating Tide Pods for internet glory. 

Responding to the new internet trend of teens and young adults consuming Tide Pod laundry detergent packets, the shop hopes its new "Forbidden Fruit" doughnut will provide a safe alternative to the fad.

Tyler Wright, a shift lead at Hurts Donut Co. in Tempe, said the new promotion has been incredibly popular with customers. 

"Those who want to do the 'Tide Pod challenge' can still do that, but in a safer way by eating doughnuts that look just like the Tide Pods," Wright said.  

The American Association of Poison Control recently issued a warning about children being exposed to the laundry pods. Meanwhile, reactions to the idea of offering Tide Pod doughnuts have been mixed.

"Once we explained that we weren't doing this to get the revenue and that it was a safe way to enjoy this, then people started to change their minds," Wright said. "We would run out of the doughnuts everyday since we started this, and people would continuously ask for more. We never thought it would get this far, but it's awesome that it's been receiving such positive feedback from customers."

Adam Speck, an electrical engineering junior, said this may not be the smartest business decision for the doughnut company, because it may be indirectly promoting the Tide Pod challenge by publicizing it. 

"What they are really doing is bringing something more to the public eye, whether they know it or not," Speck said. "Now kids who didn't know what the Tide Pod challenge was may look it up and possibly try it, which may lead to more kids hurting themselves." 

Speck said that YouTube has even made an effort to remove videos of people doing the challenge and that Hurts trying to defend itself and provide reasoning for the new flavor is just a way to deflect bad publicity. 

"It sounds like they got caught with public backlash by trying to do something trendy and are now trying to make up a reasoning for it," Speck said.

However, Noah Rudko, a civil engineering junior, said that it's a smart business move for companies to capitalize on a current trend.

"I think it's pretty funny — restaurants make food themed around pop culture all the time," Rudko said. "Hopefully by seeing that Hurts Donut is mocking people for eating the Tide Pods, kids and young adults will avoid eating them and try a doughnut instead."

Rudko said he doesn't know if this will solve the Tide Pod challenge situation, but he is hopeful that it will help.

"It might not be the best way to stop people from eating Tide Pods, but it's better than people ending up violently ill," Rudko said.

Reach the reporter at pthaung@asu.edu or follow @seaboiii on Twitter.

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