Sugar rush for doughnuts sees Project D expand to feed demand
Derby’s growing taste for delicious doughnuts is helping a city company expand across the region after its tasty treats were enjoyed by Love Island contestants, fashionistas and even members of the Royal family.
Project D, whose bright pink flagship outlet is based in the Intu Centre, says they have sold more of their handcrafted doughnuts than they could ever have imagined in the first 12 months of trading - serving an incredible 100 doughnuts every hour in December.
Not only have their brightly-coloured artisan treats helped them to build a massive Instagram following, they were also commissioned to create doughnuts for a Love Island after show party, for London Fashion Week and an order was even placed for staff and residents at Windsor Castle.
Now the company is planning to extend both its range and outlets in 2020 – starting with a 1.5m extension to its Intu Derby kiosk, after signing a deal to remain permanently in the centre.
This means Project D will be able to add additional lines to its range, including four entirely vegan doughnuts, and serve fresh coffee for the first time too.
A temporary shop in Cooper’s Square, in Burton, will also become a permanent fixture, while a weekly stand in the University of Derby’s Kedleston Road atrium is being extended to three days a week.
Further Project D kiosks will be available in Loughborough University and Warwick University meaning the company needs to recruit a further five people, bringing the workforce to 16.
The company, which prides itself on using locally-sourced ingredients and packaging which is biodegradable and compostable, is now looking at units in cities further afield.
Project D’s co-owner, Jacob Watts, said: “While we were always confident that our doughnuts were pretty special, we have been amazed at how popular Project D has become in just a year.
“In addition to the kiosks, we’ve been touring street food events and festivals around the Midlands, as well as fulfilling orders for corporate events and one-off commissions.
“Seeing the Love Island cast eating our doughnuts and finding ourselves at London Fashion Week was pretty surreal but hearing how much people across the UK loved our doughnuts was a dream come true.
“The high point was probably being commissioned to create 60 doughnuts for Windsor Castle by ASBC one of its contractors. We made them with royal crests on the top and while we’ll never know if the Queen tried them, we like to think Harry and Meghan might have shared one before they left!”
Project D, whose bright pink flatbed truck and Vespa can be seen at events all over the region, initially moved into the Intu Centre after winning a Government retail initiative called Hatch.
The campaign offered budding business owners the opportunity to set up their own shops with rent, service charges and business rates covered for the first six weeks.
Now the company, which has its own bakery in Derby and changes its ranges of flavours every six weeks, is moving into the vegan market.
Jacob added: “We are asked about vegan doughnuts all the time and there is clearly a huge demand, but we didn’t want to rush out a product that compromised the taste, texture or quality just to jump on the bandwagon.
“We’ve spent months experimenting with different processes, techniques and ingredients to adapt our doughnuts to be vegan-friendly and now we are confident that ours are every bit as delicious as their non-vegan counterparts.”