O Oreo, Oreo, whyfore art thou so delicious? As America’s favorite cookie and a staple of school lunch boxes, Oreos have a long history of being the number one go-to snack and the picture perfect cookie. Or so you all thought. It turns out this little biscuit isn’t as innocent as it looks. Here are the Top 10 DARK Secrets Of Oreos.
10. It’s Actually A Knock-Off
Oreos are so iconic nowadays; it’s hard to imagine a time when these black-and-white treats didn’t exist. And, while we’re all very thankful they did come to be, the real mastermind behind the cookie is not who we might have suspected. Just like that fake designer bag you would drag around in middle school, Oreos are a knock-off of another cookie brand, Hydrox. These cookies were invented all the way back in 1908 by a company called Sunshine. Hydrox were practically the same as Oreos, a cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie, only a little crunchier and slightly less sweet. They were welcomed by the public with open arms and were a raging success. However, when an idea is so good, it’s just a matter of time before someone tries to steal it and make it their own. National Biscuit, the company that would later become Nabisco, saw the opportunity and decided to create its own ripoff version of the Hydrox cookies, only with way more resources. They already had superior, established distribution channels and massive advertising budgets to spread the word of their new Oreo cookie sandwich. For a while, Hydrox fought back and focused their advertisement on the grounds that “they did it first,” but eventually, Oreos became so popular that Hydrox became the cookie perceived as the imitation. Yikes. Today, Hydrox cookies have long since disappeared, but they shall never be forgotten.
9. Famous Name, Unknown Origins
At this point, everybody knows what an Oreo is. The name has been so engraved in our culture; it’s like it’s become the official word for “delicious cookie.” Oreos went through quite a few name changes over the years before finally landing on the well-known brand name. From Oreo Biscuit to Oreo Sandwich, the term “oreo” seemed to always be there to stay. But, even though the name is as famous as it gets, no one really knows where it originally came from. You would think that such an iconic name would have a deep and meaningful meaning, but alas, it’s still kind of a mystery. There are only rumors hinting at who’s responsible for the name. It’s not as if there aren’t a lot of good guesses, though. Many origin stories say that the word came from “or” the French word for gold, like the color of the original packaging. Others claim that it came from the combination of the “re” in “cream” and the two “o”s in “chocolate, or even that it came from Oreodaphne, a type of laurel found on the Hydrox packaging that Oreos were modeled after. Or, you know, maybe someone just thought “Oreo” had a nice ring to it. We might never know where the name came from, but one thing is sure: Whatever they’re called, Oreos will always stand tall atop the cookie mountain.
8. Are They Really Vegan?
One of the greatest things about Oreos is that they can be enjoyed by just about anyone. As most people may already know, Oreos have become an absolute favorite for vegans looking to satisfy their sweet tooth. And, not only are Oreos vegan, but as of 1997, they are also kosher! Really, they’re the ultimate universal cookie – but that wasn’t always the case. The original recipe for Oreos, from the early 1900s, contained a very different type of creamy filling. Let’s just say it wasn’t the sweet icing you would expect. Like many things back then, the Oreo filling once had lard, aka pork fat, in it, making them most definitely not vegan or kosher. Nothing says a sweet snack like a good old spoonful of lard to dunk in your milk! However, Nabisco got the memo in the ’90s following the low-fat climate and got rid of the lard and switched to vegetable oil. Good news for everybody! While there has been some debate over whether or not Oreos are actually vegan, it ultimately becomes a personal decision. It’s true that there aren’t any direct animal-derived ingredients in Oreos; there is still a risk of cross-contamination with milk and other traces of dairy products. So, really, it’s up to you to decide if you want to take the leap and add them to your vegan diet. Either way, you could always split the cookies from the creamy filling part and share it with a non-vegan friend!
7. The Special Design
We’ve talked about the name and the history of this ingenious cookie; now, let’s talk about the weird, seemingly random design of Oreos. With so many intricate details all over the cookie, not many people have even bothered to stop and admire the Oreo cookies’ true beauty. Just like the name, the lines are a little blurry when it comes to who actually designed the look of the cookie, but most experts agree that it was all thanks to a man named William Turnier. He’s the one who was charged with the task of giving Oreos a new look and came up with the embossed design we all know today. According to Turnier’s son, the design goes back to monks who used it on the bottom of manuscripts they copied in Medieval times. The Oreo design also dips into the distant past, as people have tried to make historical references. The designs incorporate the Cross of Lorraine, carried by the Knights Templar during the Crusades. It’s believed that the Cross of Lorraine gave rise to the Nabisco logo, which eventually became the European symbol of quality. The four triangles are a pattern that was associated with the Crusades, called the Cross Pattee. The design contains exactly 12 flowers, 12 dots, and 12 dashes. No matter what they mean, the patterns on Oreos are just as emblematic as their taste.
6. The World’s Most Popular Cookie
It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that Oreos are not just some small-time cookie brand. It’s been the best-selling cooking in the United States ever since it was first introduced back in 1912. Talk about making an impact on the cookie world. Oreo has continuously been leading the race and breaking new barriers in terms of taste and originality. However, make no mistake, they’re not just popular in the United States; They’re a worldwide sensation! Sold in over 100 countries, Oreos are not here to play games. They’ve been enjoyed more than 500 billion times since they’ve been on the market, which equates to roughly 123,000 tons of creme a year! In fact, if you took all the Oreos that have ever been made and lined them all end to end, you would have enough to circle the Earth 381 times. And if you stacked them? They would reach the moon and back more than five times. But, even though the rest of the world is just as crazy for Oreos as we are, there is one country that didn’t want to join in on the fun, at least, not at first. In Britain, Oreos do not have the same cult-following as everywhere else around the world. When they first arrived over there, Oreos were branded as biscuits. Since the Brits are mostly used to enjoying their biscuits dunked in tea, a strong, sweet, chocolatey flavor wasn’t exactly what they were hoping for. Today, though, it’s another story, but back then, there was no telling if Oreos were going to be home run or just strike out.
5. Oreos From Costco Taste Different
It kind of goes without saying that Oreos, even though their taste is pretty iconic, would differ from one country to another. After all, we don’t all have the same tastebuds. When things vary from country to country, it makes sense, but to get a different taste in the same market? That seems a little weird, and yet, some people have noticed just this in Oreos homeland. If you’ve ever tested one fountain soda against its canned product, you know it tastes different. Well, the same seems to apply with Oreos. Many fans of the cookie have pointed out how Oreos sold at Costco weren’t the exact same as the ones sold elsewhere. With a difference in texture and taste, there’s no denying that Oreos from Costco are not the real deal. There are exactly two major differences, and it’s all about the ingredients. Classic Oreos list artificial flavor among the ingredients, while Costco’s version lists natural flavor instead. Plus, both Oreos use two different ways to sweeten their cookies. Classic Oreos go with high fructose corn syrup, whereas Costco’s uses invert sugar. Invert sugar is actually a mixture of glucose and fructose known to retain moisture and produce a smoother texture. So, there you go, the mystery is solved, and now you know while sometimes, your Oreos are just smoother than usual.
4. Some Wild Flavors
Oreo has come out with a lot of different flavors over the years – it’s not just the cookies and cream combo anymore; they’ve made it to the big league. When Oreos were first introduced to the public, another variety was released alongside it, a lemon meringue flavor. But, since the Original Oreo stole the show, the flavor was discontinued due to lack of popularity. Ever since 2019, though, Oreo started to release – and sadly discontinue – “Limited Edition” flavors every season. Each sounding crazier than the other: Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter, Limeade, and even pickles-stuffed Oreos, all graced or disgraced our shelves at one point or another. It seems like as time passes, Oreo is just becoming bolder and bolder with new flavors, making everybody anticipate the next edition impatiently. However, apparently, these aren’t all random, and there’s actually a science behind why they – almost – all work out so well. According to a university behavioral economist, “the key is they’re not trying to introduce the flavors for long-term consumption. They build in this idea of really tacky flavors, and that sort of builds this relationship with the consumer who likes to check out these kitschy Oreos.” So, really, all these nutty flavors are just a way to strengthen their fanbase and test the waters at the same time.
3. You Can Create Your Own Oreo
Obviously, if so many flavors are offered, there’s got to be a way for everyone to have their say and put in their two cents. Everybody deserves a flavor they love and cherish. Since the company wouldn’t be able to release every single flavor, they found a way to still make your wish their command. From the color of the creme to the the flavor,a nd even the text written on the cookie, you can now make your very own Oreo and have it any way you want it. All you need to do is visit the “Oreo ID” page, and the possibilities become endless. Start by picking your flavor and color of creme – you can choose between 8 colors and 4 flavors. Then, you decide if you want it dipped in anything, fudge or white fudge, take your pick of sprinkles, and select as many as you’d like. Finally, you can add either a photo of your choice or a sweet text for your loved ones and, voila! You just created your personalized treat. These babies will set you back only $2.50 each, or you can get pretty sweet deals on packages. You can get anything from a singular cookie to a pack of 24. If this sounds like something you would like to try out, you now have the perfect Christmas gift!
2. Precise Ritual
For something to be as delicious as Oreos every single time, there’s got to be some serious logistics going on behind the scenes. You can’t simply throw together the ingredients blindly and hope you get it right. No, it’s all about balance, accuracy, and diligence. Even though the Oreo recipe has changed somewhat over the years – like the lard-filled fiasco – the science has stayed the same. To make Oreos, you need the exact right amount of ingredients; otherwise, the whole thing is ruined. The perfect cookie-to-crème ratio has to be 71% cookie, 29% creme, and take precisely 59 minutes to make, from start to finish. As for the way to eat them, well, that’s more of a personal preference. Some studies have shown that men and women eat their Oreos in different ways. A 2004 survey of over 2,000 Oreo eaters showed that 84% of men eat Oreos whole, and 41% of women prefer twisting the cookie in half and are more likely to dunk them in milk. Of course, these are just numbers. But if you’re curious as to what your Oreo eating habits say about you, you can just head over to the Oreo personality test developed by a retired associate professor of management from Virginia Commonwealth University. Whether you eat them whole or dunk them first, every way is the right way to enjoy Oreos.
1. Kooky Cookie-Flavored Stuff
You’ve probably encountered some pretty wacky Oreo-flavored things in your life. Because that’s what happens when something is successful, people want to make the most out of it. And Oreos? Well, they’re the definition of a smash hit. Sure, there are the classic – and normal – Oreo cookies and cream ice cream, cakes, or even Oreo pies, but what about the stuff that’s a little more off the wall. Like Oreo beer, for instance. Yes, there is such a thing as Oreo beer, or at least, there was. Back in January 2017, the Virginia-based Veil Brewing Company came out with a version of their chocolate milk stout, called Hornswoggle. The stout was infused Oreo cookies – with little bits of filling floating around. Believe it or not, this beer completely sold out within a week. People really will go to great lengths to create some of the weirdest products featuring Oreos, and more often than not, it works out! Of course, that’s not the case with everything – an Oreo toothpaste flavor probably wouldn’t be a big seller, but in general, Oreo flavored anything is usually a safe bet, and you can rarely go wrong.