What cookie is over one hundred years old, has a National Day, socks, and a street named for it? According to author Catherine Gilbert Murdock, “Heaven is paved with Oreos.”
Impressive for a cookie that began as a knock-off.
In 1908, Sunshine Biscuits introduced the Hydrox sandwich cookie. It was a hit.
Looming in the background was a group of bakery companies who formed the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco). Sound familiar? They introduced Barnum’s Animal Crackers in a small colorful box designed to look like a circus. Each cookie was shaped like an animal and the box had a handle.
Today forty million boxes of animal crackers are sold each year.
In 1912, Nabisco “reimagined” the Hydrox cookie and called it Oreo. They were produced in a New York City factory later replaced by Chelsea Market. On ninth avenue between fifteenth and sixteenth streets, it’s still called Oreo Way.
Today over forty billion Oreos are produced each year and sold in one hundred different countries. The biggest customers are the United States, China, and the United Kingdom.
If you stack all the Oreos ever made it would reach the moon five times.
That’s a lot of Oh! Oh! Oreos.
Variety, flavors, and clever advertising keep it going strong. Oreos are the most popular cookie on the planet. Why?
Science stepped in to figure it out.
In a study of rats, researchers found that Oreos stimulated “pleasure centers” in the brain the same way as addictive drugs (cocaine and morphine). Rats were put in a maze with Oreos on one side and rice cakes on the other. The rats always chose Oreos – they were addicted.
Are you an Oreo rat?
At MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) researchers studied the critical question of how Oreos twist apart. They concluded that the cream always sticks to one side. We all know that. A new field of study was created: Oreology.
Other studies concluded that women are more likely to twist open their Oreos while men prefer to eat them whole. Women tend to be dunkers while men are biters.
What’s your style?
Researchers correlated Oreo flavors to college majors: education majors preferred peanut butter cream, political science chose red velvet, and business majors opted for double stuffed. No surprise there.
Flavors have been important to Oreo’s success. There are over eighty-five different flavors – some permanent, others limited edition or discontinued. You probably know golden, fudge covered, minis, thins, and double stuf (named with one “f” because they only have 1.86 times more cream than the original – not double).
If you want the exact thing go for triple double chocolate.
Flavors range from candy corn to root beer float and wasabi to hot chicken wings. Look for green tea ice cream, Swedish fish, Neapolitan, and birthday cake among many others. Have you ever tried deep fried or kettle corn Oreos?
Oreos don’t stop there. You can find them in everything from cakes, ice cream, donuts, pies, pizzas, milkshakes – the sky’s the limit. If that doesn’t make you happy, customize your own Oreo into an OREOid – a DIY delight.
Slip into Oreo jogging pants, jackets, tee-shirts, or socks. Wear your new clothes to celebrate National Oreo Cookie Day in March or give one of many gifts like an Oreo bouquet or Oreo’s Ultimate Dunking Kit.
Celebrate at Oreo Fest in Chicago or Oreo Mooncakes in Mid-Autumn Festivals. Join an Oreo eating contest, most recently won by record-holder Max Stanford (he ate 141 Oreos in five minutes).
You never know what’s coming next.