Oreo Cookie Turns 100
March 19, 2012
The venerable black-and-white, fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand snack was first sold to a New Jersey grocer in 1912. Back then, the makers were the National Biscuit Company. Today, the boxes say Kraft Foods and Nabisco. (The latter is an abbreviation of the old name: NaBisCo).
Kraft has launched a worldwide campaign celebrating the centennial of the creation of the Oreo, with ads in print, on the air, and online, along the lines of the theme "Celebrate the Kid Inside." The instantly recognizable "twist, lick, and dunk" ritual familiar to generations of children will feature heavily in the ads. Also on offer will be a special variety called Birthday Cake Oreos.
At the official Oreo Birthday website, visitors can send an Oreo-gram to friends, have a go in the Oreo Arcade, listen to special Birthday Notes from popular singers, and share and enjoy special pictures in the Oreo Moments Gallery.
Since the first Oreo cookies appeared in 1912, they have sold fast and often. The company says that nearly 400 billion have been sold to date.
The origin of the name is not clear. One story has it that it is close to the French word for gold, or. Gold was the main color on early packages of the tasty snacks. The Greek word Oreo means "beautiful" or "well done." Another story tells of taking the letters "re" out of cream, for the cream filling, and placing them in between two of the letter "o," for chocolate.
Variations continue, with the most popular being DOUBLE STUFF, introduced in 1975; Big Stuf, which arrived in 1984; Fudge, which came along in 1987; Mini, which was rolled out in 1991; Triple Stuf, a 2006 innovation; and various holiday-themed Oreos, including Halloween (1991) and Christmas (1995).
Other flavors introduced in other countries include Banana, Blueberry, Green Tea, Lemon Ice, Peanut Butter, and Strawberry.
Oreo cookies are sold all around the world, in various forms. In China, where they have been sold only since 1996, they are Oreo Wafer Sticks. In India, Canada, and other former possessions of the United Kingdom (as well as the U.K. itself), they are known as biscuits.
Oreos can also be found in recipes and products including cakes, ice cream, milkshakes, and pies.