The decision comes surprisingly late in the US, where a law requiring trans fats to be labelled on all foods was passed in 2006. As well as bringing trans fats into the public eye, the new regulations resulted in a huge reformulation effort throughout the industry. Krispy Kreme spokesperson Dana Hughens told BakeryandSnacks.com the company has now decided to eliminate trans fats from its doughnut recipe after an on-line group of doughnut fans expressed their fears of how the fat may affect human health in 2007. Trans fat is a form of unsaturated fat produced when liquid vegetable oils are turned into solid fats through the process of hydrogenation, and has been linked to health problems such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. "It was through this feedback from consumers that we knew that reducing trans fat from daily diets has been on the minds of consumers," Hughens said. Galvanised into action by the power of the people, the company first began changing the recipe of its doughnuts last autumn - by replacing the four grams of trans fat in each doughnut with a mixture of palm and vegetable oil. "The new reformulated doughnuts are now healthier than before, and they still only contain 200 calories," Hughens said. While some divisions selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts in other countries have not as yet followed the example of the mother ship, most made the move long before the US division. In the UK, where labelling trans fats is only voluntary, the company reduced its trans fat a year previously. In Australia, the company pledged to "significantly reduce trans fats within its products", following mounting pressure from the Australian government and local food safety officials, as well as accusations of targeting junk food products at children. Krispy Kreme's new concession to trans fat fears may in fact help boost the company's flagging profits, as a 12 per cent in third quarter sales last year was partially blamed on failure to tap into healthy eating trends. When the results were released in October 2007, the company also said it had closed 17 own factory stores, 12 domestic stores in the US, and 25 franchises during the first nine months of the year. In fact, the struggle to balance the books is part of a continuing trend for the company, as Krispy Kreme has seen its share value falling a massive 82 per cent since 2003. The company has also faced a variety of both legal difficulties over this period, including an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission over accounting irregularities, as well as a lawsuit on behalf of beneficiaries in the firm's retirement savings plan. However, Krispy Kreme franchises have fared better in overseas markets, with the company increasing rather than decreasing operations particularly in Asia. The company now has 1,700 stores overseas with a strong presence in the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand.