A dip into Oreo’s history

How America’s favorite cookie has become a household staple for over 100 years.

By Cassandra Nava, Staff Writer

The anatomy of the nation’s most popular cookie is simple: two chocolate cookies bound together by a creamy center, and this combination has been dominating the snack industry since 1912.

Nabisco created Oreos nearly 100 years ago and marketed them as the first sandwich cookie to hit the shelves. However, the Oreo was a knockoff of the popular cookie, Hydrox, which was a black and white sandwich cookie that Oreo copied, right down to the packaging. Oreo soon surpassed their competition with the help of Nabisco’s marketing, leaving Hydrox in the past. Oreos have implemented changes to their aesthetics since their creation, changing the packaging in the 1970s to a vibrant blue and white. Not long after, the Oreo was labeled as the world’s best selling cookie in 1985, according to the 1985 Guinness Book of World Records, and in 2017, Oreo reached $710 million in sales.

“Oreos deserve this title because they’re such a classic staple in American society,” said Valley College sophomore Jessica Labonog. “An oreo is a simple cookie that can be eaten anywhere at any time.”

Since 1912, the cookie’s flavor has never changed. It’s always been 71 percent chocolate cookie and 29 percent cream filling. However, Oreo has created many different flavors since their conception. There are over 25 flavors: red velvet, pistachio, lemon, carrot cake and more.

People eat the Oreo in different ways — ripping it apart or eating it whole. Studies show that men eat the cookie by taking bites, and women eat the cookie by twisting it in half.

“It depends on if I have milk,” said Valley freshman Elijah Perez. “If I have milk I can [take a bite and] wash it down. If I don’t have milk I’ll split it open because the cream is really the best part.”

The price of the standard package sold at grocery stores, which contains three rows of 15 cookies, is usually priced at just under $3. The runner up for best selling cookies in the United States are Girl Scout Cookies, which sell for $4 (select flavors are $5).

In 1993, Nabisco took the lard ingredient out of Oreos, but did not obtain Kosher certification until 1998 according to OU Kosher (the world’s largest kosher certification agency). This title allows consumers to purchase snacks that cater to their dietary needs. The lack of pig lard therefore allows Oreos to be vegan and vegetarian.

Oreos are typically used in the world of desserts — there are ice cream, pies, cakes and even pizzas that incorporate the cookie into some recipes. In 1997, McDonald’s created the Oreo McFlurry, which is a blend of soft serve ice cream and crushed up Oreos.

One inspiration for the Oreo has surpassed the realm of food altogether, with the recent collaboration with clothing brand Supreme. In their Spring/Summer 2020 collection, Supreme partnered up with Nabisco to create a red double stuff Oreo, but rather than reading “Oreo” on the cookie, the classic Supreme logo was on the center of the cookie. The original price for a pack of three cookies sold for $8 but has since sold out. However, on eBay, prices for this limited edition Oreo can range from $15 to upwards of $70,000.

“The treat has been around for almost 100 years,” according to Fast Company. “It was born the same year the South Pole was discovered and the Titanic sank. It had witnessed a dozen presidencies, endured technological breakthroughs, countless fashion trends and survived diet crazes.”

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