Oreo is a sandwich cookie consisting of two chocolate disks with a sweet cream filling in between. The version currently sold in the United States is made by the Nabisco division of Mondelēz International. Oreo has become the best selling cookie in the United States since its introduction in 1912.
The "Oreo Biscuit" was first developed and produced by the National Biscuit Company (today known as Nabisco) in 1912 at its Chelsea factory in New York City (the current-day Chelsea Market complex), located on Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets. Today, this same block of Ninth Avenue is known as "Oreo Way." The name Oreo was first trademarked on March 14, 1912. It was launched as an imitation of the Hydrox cookie manufactured by Sunshine company, introduced in 1908.
The original design of the cookie featured a wreath around the edge of the cookie and the name "OREO" in the center. In the United States, they were sold for 25 cents a pound in novelty cans with clear glass tops.
The Oreo Biscuit was renamed in 1921, to "Oreo Sandwich." A new design for the cookie was introduced in 1924. A lemon-filled variety was available briefly during the 1920s, but was discontinued.
In 1948, the Oreo Sandwich was renamed the "Oreo Creme Sandwich"; it was changed in 1974 to the Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie. The modern-day Oreo design was developed in 1952 by William A. Turnier, to include the Nabisco logo.
Starting in January 2006, Oreo cookies replaced the trans fat in the cookie with non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Nabisco began a marketing program in 2008, advertising the use of Oreo cookies in a game called DSRL, which stands for "Double Stuf Racing League." The DSRL was introduced one week prior to Super Bowl XLII. This sport had also been endorsed by football brothers Peyton Manning and Eli Manning. Sisters Venus and Serena Williams have also joined, and challenged the Mannings to a race, which aired in an ad on January 18, 2009. Another campaign started for Golden Double Stuf Oreo cookies with the brothers being challenged by Donald Trump & "Double Trump" played by Darrell Hammond; the date for this competition was January 24, 2010. The Mannings won in both cases. A new ad campaign is currently revolving around a 'Hooded Menace' threatening to take over the Double Stuf Racing League, and Eli Manning and Stufy (the DSRL mascot) needing some help airing beginning on or around September 14, 2010. Six days later, it was announced that Shaquille O'Neal and Apolo Ohno joined Oreo Double Stuf Racing League vets Eli Manning and Venus Williams.
In April 2011, Oreo announced its special edition Oreo cookies with blue cream in promotion of the 2011 3D computer animated film Rio. The promotion included stickers inside each package of cookies. Two types of contests were also announced: first, by completing an album of stickers, consumers could win three movie passes and medium snack bar combos; second, by finding winning stickers in packages with prizes, including a trip to Rio de Janeiro, backpacks, cinema passes for a year, and 3D glasses. The promotion ended May 30, 2011, and was available in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.
The rainbow Oreo advertisement in support of Gay Pride month
In June 2012, Oreo posted an ad displaying an Oreo cookie with rainbow colored cream to commemorate Gay Pride month. The cookie itself is not being manufactured or available for sale. The ad prompted some negative comments but Kraft stood by their promotion stating "Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness. We feel the Oreo ad is a fun reflection of our values." The Gay Pride ad was followed during 2012 by a series of ads commemorating other holidays and events, including a red, white and blue cream Oreo for Bastille Day, a stream of cookie crumbs for the appearance of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower, and a cookie with a jagged bite taken out of it for Shark Week.
The origin of the name Oreo is unknown, but there are many theories, including derivations from the French word 'Or', meaning gold (as early packaging was gold), or the Greek word 'Oreo', meaning beautiful, nice or well done. Others believe that the cookie was named Oreo because it was short and easy to pronounce.
Oreo cookies are distribution worldwide through a variety of means. In the United Kingdom, since May 2008, following stocking of Oreo (called Oreo biscuits in UK) in the supermarket chain Sainsbury's, Kraft decided to fully launch the Oreo across the UK, repackaged in the more familiar British tube design, accompanied with a £4.5M television advertising campaign around the 'twist, lick, dunk' catchphrase. Kraft recently partnered with McDonald's to bring the Oreo McFlurry (already on sale in many countries) to a few McDonald's locations during its yearly Great Tastes of America promotions. An Oreo flavored "Krushem" drink was also on sale in UK KFC stores. The UK Oreo website gives a slightly different ingredients list to that of the US product. Unlike the US version, UK Oreo cookies originally contained whey powder and so were not suitable for people who avoid milk products. As the whey powder was sourced from cheese made with calf rennet, UK Oreo cookies were also not suitable for vegetarians. However since Spring 2013, the whey powder has been removed and UK Oreo cookies are now suitable for vegetarians and vegans. On 6 December 2011, Kraft announced that Oreo cookies would start to be produced in the UK. Their Cadbury factory at Sheffield in South Yorkshire has been selected to manufacture Oreo cookies in the UK for the first time. Construction of the Oreo plant in Sheffield was due to start in March 2012.
According to a statement from Kim McMiller, an Associate Director of Consumer Relations, a two-stage process is used to make Oreo cookies. The base cake dough is formed into the familiar round cookies by a rotary mold at the entrance of a 300-foot-long oven. Much of current Oreo production is done at the Kraft/Nabisco factory in Richmond, Virginia. Oreo cookies for the Asian markets are manufactured in Indonesia, India and China. Oreo cookies for Europe are made in Spain and in Ukraine for consumers in several CIS countries. Oreo cookies sold in Australia are manufactured in China or Spain, depending on flavor. The Canadian produced version includes Coconut Oil and sold only in that region.
In addition to their traditional design of two chocolate wafers separated by a cream filling, Oreo cookies have been produced in many different varieties since they were first introduced, and this list is only a guide to some of the more notable and recent types; not all are available in every country. Notable flavors in the US are:
Different sizes of Oreo cookies: mini, regular and Double Stuf
Double Stuf Oreo cookies
Double Stuf Oreo (introduced in 1974) have about twice the normal amount of white cream filling. Available in peanut butter, original, cool mint or chocolate cream. In the UK they are called Double Stuff Oreo (note the double 'f') and are currently only available in original.
Football Oreo football-shape Oreo cookies, introduced in 1976
Big Stuf Oreo (introduced in 1987) were several times the size of a normal Oreo. Sold individually, each Big Stuf contained 250 calories (1,000 kJ) and 13 grams of fat. They were discontinued in 1991.
Mini Oreo, originally released in 1991, are bite-sized versions of ordinary Oreo cookies. After being discontinued in the late 1990s they were re-released in 2000 along with the redesigned 2001 Dodge Caravan as part of a promotional tie-in with DaimlerChrysler Their 1990s packaging consisted of a "miniaturized" version of the full-size cardboard tray and box used in packaging at the time. Their current packaging consists of an aluminum foil bag.
Triple Double Oreo, for sale in the US in summer 2011, combine three wafers with two layers of creme, one vanilla and one chocolate.
Triple Double Neapolitan Oreo, similar to the original triple double Oreo cookies, but are three vanilla Oreo cookies, with chocolate filling between the first and second cookies, and strawberry filling between the second and third.
100 Calorie Pack Oreo (Oreo Thinsations in Canada) are miniature, thin, hexagonal versions of Oreo with no creme-filling, and come individually portioned into 100 calories (420 kJ) pouches.
Mega Stuf Oreo, introduced in February 2013, are similar to Double Stuf Oreo cookies, but with even more white cream filling.
Strawberry Milkshake Oreo, introduced in Canada, and sold for a limited time in the United States, is an Oreo cookie with strawberry flavoring.
Strawberry Oreo, introduced in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Green Tea Oreo, introduced in China and Japan.
Lemon Ice Oreo, introduced in Japan.
Organic Oreo, introduced in 2006, are plain Oreo cookies made with organic flavor and organic sugar.
Blueberry Ice Cream Oreo, introduced in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia in 2010. Also sold in Thailand and China.
Orange Ice Cream Oreo, introduced in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand in 2011.
Golden Oreo, introduced in Indonesia in 2011. Oreo's chocolate cookies replaced by milk-flavored cookies
Double Stuf Golden Oreo, introduced in late August 2009. As the name indicates they are Double Stuf Oreo cookies with Golden Oreo wafers instead of normal chocolate Oreo wafers.
Golden Oreo series have vanilla biscuits with other fillings like vanilla and chocolate as Uh-Oh Oreo until its rebranding in 2007. Introduced in Indonesia in 2011 with milky cookies and cream.
Oreo Heads or Tails have vanilla creme filling with a chocolate Oreo wafer on one side and a Golden Oreo wafer on the other.
Creamsicle Oreo have vanilla and orange creme filling with vanilla Oreo wafers.
Ice Cream Oreo Rainbow Shure Bert have rainbow sherbet filling with vanilla Oreo wafers.
Oreo DQ Blizzard Creme, a limited edition Oreo released in April–May 2010, celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Dairy Queen Blizzard
Double Delight Oreo, introduced in 1987, have chocolate cookies with two fillings, notably peanut butter and chocolate, mint and cream, and coffee and cream flavors.
Also there are ongoing fruit series: orange and mango, raspberry and blueberry, grape and peach in China.
Cool Mint Creme Oreo are a Double Stuf Oreo with a slight minty creme filling.
Peanut Butter Oreo are a Double Stuf Oreo with a peanut buttery creme filling.
Pure Milk Chocolate Covered Mint Oreo are similar to Milk Chocolate Oreo but have a mint-flavored filling.
Banana Split Creme Oreo with a light yellow banana flavor filling, were available for a limited time in 2008.
Berry Burst Ice Cream Oreo were released in April 2011.
Sugar Free Oreo, introduced in 2006, cost over twice as much as regular Oreo cookies, and had only trace amounts of sugar, 10 fewer calories per serving, 0.5 grams more fat and 450% more fiber.
Reduced Fat Oreo, introduced in 2006, cost the same as regular Oreo cookies, had as much sugar, 10 fewer calories per serving, about 35% less fat and the same amount of fiber.
During springtime, around Halloween, and Christmas, special edition "Double Stuf Oreo" cookies are produced with colored frosting reflecting the current holiday (blue or yellow, orange, and red or green respectively). Also, one side of each seasonal cookie is stamped with an appropriate design: the spring cookies feature flowers, butterflies, etc., and the Hallowe'en Oreos bear a jack o'lantern, ghost, cat, flock of bats, and/or broom-riding witch.
Halloween Oreos, Fall 2013
Chocolate and Dulce de leche Oreo, sold in Chile and Argentina, has chocolate or Dulce de Leche instead of the usual creme.
Birthday Cake Oreo cookies were a limited-edition release in February–July 2012 to celebrate Oreo's 100th birthday, made up of two chocolate Oreo cookies with a birthday-cake flavored filling and sprinkles inside. This edition replaced the traditional design on one of the two cookies with a birthday candle and the words "OREO 100". The flavor has been reintroduced, with "double stuff" amount of cream filling, in both chocolate and golden Oreo varieties, except that the cookies no longer display the "OREO 100" print.
Birthday Cake Oreo - Fudge Dipped Vanilla were a limited-edition release in February–July 2012 to celebrate Oreo's 100th birthday, made up of one vanilla Oreo cookie with a birthday-cake flavored filling and sprinkles inside. The cookie and frosting are then dipped in fudge so that the entire cookie is covered.
Candy Corn Oreo cookies are a Hallowe'en-related flavor, made up of two golden Oreo cookies with a flavored filling that was half yellow and half orange. They were a limited edition release in 2012 that returned in 2013.
Gingerbread Oreo cookies were a limited edition release made up of two golden Oreo cookies with a mild gingerbread flavored filling.
Lemon Twist Oreo cookies were a limited edition release in 2012 that returned in 2013, made up of two golden Oreo cookies with a lemon flavored filling.
Neapolitan Oreo cookies were a limited edition release in 2012, made up of three golden Oreo cookies with a double sandwich of chocolate and strawberry creme fillings.
Ice Cream Rainbow Sure, Bert! Oreo cookies were a limited edition release in 2013, made up of two golden Oreo cookies with a double stuf-thickness layer of tri-color raspberry and lime sherbert flavor creme filling.
Watermelon Oreo cookies are a limited edition release for the summer of 2013, consisting of two golden Oreo cookies with watermelon-flavoured filling.
Banana Split Oreo cookies were a limited edition release in fall 2013, made up of one golden and one chocolate Oreo, with a double stuf-thickness layer of strawberry and banana flavor creme filling.
^Toops, Diane (July 1, 2005). "Top 10 power brands". FoodProcessing.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. "In the enviable position of being the No. 1 selling cookie in America since its introduction in 1912, the Oreo, made by Nabisco, East Hanover, N.J., a brand of Kraft Foods, was a true innovation—two chocolate disks with a crème filling in between."