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"We're a sweet treat company, [and] if folks don't want to visit a donut shop, they don't have to," CEO Mike Trattersfield said

By Eric Todisco
March 28, 2021 12:45 PM
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Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme
| Credit: Getty Images

Krispy Kreme is catching flack for its latest promotion that offers a free Original Glazed donut to any consumer who shows their COVID vaccination card.

Last Monday, the donut chain announced that the offer — which is applicable to any customers that have received at least one of two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — is available at locations nationwide and goes until the end of 2021 without additional purchase.

However, many social media users called out Krispy Kreme in the following days and pointed out that obesity is a growing problem for Americans and is a risk factor for COVID-19. (According to the CDC, obesity was prevalent in 42.4 percent of Americans in 2017 to 2018).

"Krispy Kreme is offering free donuts to anyone who's been vaccinated. Which is great news for anyone who got the shot but still has a death wish," Stephen Colbert tweeted.

In an interview with Yahoo! Finance on Friday, CEO Mike Tattersfield defended the company's intentions with the controversial promotion deal. "We're a sweet treat company, [and] if folks don't want to visit a donut shop, they don't have to," said Tattersfield.

krispy kreme
Krispy Kreme
| Credit: Krispy Kreme

Tattersfield further pushed back against the criticism and said that if "folks that want to get a vaccine, if they decide to combine a Krispy Kreme pickup [for] a doughnut, they can. That's how we look at it... generosity."

"I drop off a lot of doughnuts to the healthcare system. They're very appreciative, given the days that they have to work...people are always looking for a little sweet treat break. It's okay," he said.

Tattersfield also said that the company — which saw a surge in sales amid the pandemic in 2020 — will cover the costs of the free donuts for the promotion.

"We've always done fundraising and had some type of give back to the community," he told Yahoo! Finance. "The majority of the United States is a company owned system, so we pick up the tab."

Krispy Kreme free donuts
Credit: Krispy Kreme

In addition to the free donut deal, Krispy Kreme has promised to support health care workers and volunteers who are administering vaccines by delivering free donuts to vaccination centers across the country in the coming weeks.

The company is also giving all employees up to four hours of paid time off to get the vaccine. 

"We all want to get COVID-19 behind us as fast as possible and we want to support everyone doing their part to make the country safe by getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to them," Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer, said in the press release.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.