Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Tuesday, the Oreo will turn 100 years old. Here is a look back at some history and fun facts about the Oreo cookie.
• Before the name “Oreo” became the name, the first cookies were called Arrhea. Those first cookies were baked at the Chelsea Market Bakery in Manhattan in 1912.The first sales took place in Hoboken, N.J.
• The name “Oreo Biscuit,” registered as a National Biscuit Company product, was changed to Oreo Sandwich in 1921.
• The advertisement showing the “twist” (to separate the cookie) first appeared on trolley cars in 1923. About this same time, the cookies became available in self-serve fiberboard packages.
• By 1924, the cookies were sold for 25 cents per pound in novelty cans with clear glass tops.
• In 1928, Oreo cookies were exported to several Spanish-speaking countries, including Central and Latin America.
• The name Oreo Sandwich was changed to Oreo Creme Sandwich in 1937.
• Canadians were introduced to the Oreo in 1949.
• The design of the Oreo was modified to include National Biscuit Company’s colophon emblem in 1952. There are also 12 “flowers” on each chocolate wafer.
• Oreo packaging changed in 1965 to a one-pound cardboard carton containing three waxed-paper stacks.
• In 1974, the Oreo Double Stuf Chocolate Sandwich cookies were introduced in the U.S.
• Oreo cookies were supplied to ice cream manufacturers for use in making Oreo brand Cookies ‘N Cream ice cream in 1983.
• In 1987, for the 75th birthday of Oreo, Oreo Big Stuf cookies were introduced for a limited time. It was this same year that fudge-covered Oreo Sandwich Cookies were introduced.
• Father and son TV commercials launched the “Moments” campaign in 1989.
• In the U.S. and Canada, Mini Oreo cookies became available in 1992.
• Reduced fat Oreo cookies came on the market in 1994.
• In 1996, China was the newest market for Oreo cookies. Ten years later (2006) the country reported the Oreo as its No. 1 selling “biscuit.”
• Between 2007 and 2011, Oreo was introduced in Greece, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Ukraine, Poland, Germany and India.
• The Oreo is now enjoyed in more than 100 countries in a variety of flavors. Regardless of location, the “twist, lick, dunk” ritual is universal.
• Sources say that more women take apart their Oreo cookies before eating them than do men.
1950 — Oh! Oh! Oreo!
1980 — For the Kid in All of Us
1982 — America’s Best Loved Cookie
1982 — The One and Only
1986 — Who’s the Kid with the Oreo Cookie?
1990 — Oreo, the Original Twist
2004 — Milk’s Favorite Cookie
Other places, other flavors
• The Green tea Oreo is available in China and Japan.
• Blueberry Ice Cream Oreo can be found in Indonesia , Malaysia and Thailand.
• Canadian Oreo cookies contain coconut oil.
• In Croatia, Oreo cookies are available at McDonald’s restaurants as an addition to McFlurry Ice Cream.
• The fastest growing markets for Oreo cookies are France, Australia/New Zealand, Chile, China, Indonesia, Malaysia/Singapore, Taiwan, Morocco, Mexico and Hong Kong.
• The biggest markets for Oreo sales, according to 2010 data, in order are the U.S., China, Venezuela, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and Argentina.
• The leading competition for the Oreo was the Hydrox cookie made by Sunshine beginning in 1908. Having lost market share to Oreo for many years, Hydrox cookies were withdrawn in 1999.
• Distributed under the name Nabisco, the brand is a division of Kraft Foods.
• Sales of the Oreo cookie reached $1 billion for the first time in 2007, greatly due to sales in China. Now sales hover around the $1.5 billion mark annually.
• In 1990, singer/songwriter Weird Al Yankovic wrote a tribute to the Oreo titled “The White Stuff,” a parody of the New Kids on the Block single “You Got It (The Right Stuff).”
• In 2010, country singer Abi Lester recorded a song written by Bob Carlisle called “Flaming Red” which includes the line, “I’d take a long bath, turn the radio on, and sing really loud to all my favorite songs, eat a whole box of Oreos in my bed.”
• The base cookie dough for the Oreo is formed into the familiar round cookies by a rotary mold at the entrance of a 300-foot-long oven. Most of the baking for the U.S. is done at the Kraft/Nabisco facility in Richmond, Va.
• National Biscuit Company (often shortened to N.B.C.), opened corporate offices in the world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, in 1898.
• A merger of what was at one time 114 bakeries across the United States became the National Biscuit Company.
• One of the company’s first great successes was the flaky and light cracker called the UNEEDA biscuit. After 110 years, the Uneeda biscuit was discontinued in 2009.
• During World Ware II, N.B.C. manufactured K-Rations for U.S. troops.
• It was not until 1971 that the company officially took the name “Nabisco.”
• The plant in Chicago, a 1.8 million-square-foot facility, is the largest bakery in the world. Its approximately 1,500 workers turn out some 320 million pounds of snack food annually.
Think about it ...
• The St. Louis Arch is 15,120 Oreo cookies high.
• Approximately 20.5 million Oreo cookies are consumed per day.
• If all the Oreo cookies sold to date (as of 2011) were stacked one upon another, the height of the stack would be equivalent to 9.8 million Sears Towers.
• Rather than stacking all the Oreos sold to date, if placed side-to-side, they would encircle the earth 381 times at the equator.