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Oreo is a brand of cookie usually consisting of two chocolate cookies with a sweet crème filling, marketed as a "Chocolate Sandwich Cookie". Introduced in 1912, Oreo is the bestselling cookie in the United States. As of 2018, the version sold in the U.S. has been made by the Nabisco division of Mondelez International.

Oreos are available in over one hundred and different countries; in some countries, such as the United Kingdom, they are referred to as Oreo biscuits. Many different varieties of Oreo cookies have been produced, and limited edition runs have become popular in the 21st century.

The origin of the name, Oreo, is unknown, but there are many hypotheses, including derivations from the French word, meaning gold, or the Greek word, meaning tasty, beautiful, nice or well done. Others believe that the cookie was named Oreo simply because the name was short and easy to pronounce. Another theory is that the name derives from the Latin Oreodaphne, a genus of the laurel family. Food writer, Stella Parks, notes in her book BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts that the original design of the Oreo included a laurel wreath and the names of several Nabisco cookies at the time the original Oreo had botanical derivations, including Avena, Lotus, and Helicon.


Twentieth century

The "Oreo Biscuit" was first developed and produced by the National Biscuit Company (today known as Nabisco) in 1912 at its Chelsea, Manhattan factory in the current-day Chelsea Market complex, located on Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets. Today, this same Ninth Avenue block 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, which was introduced in 1908.

The original design on the face of the Oreo 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 (453 g) in novelty metal canisters with clear glass tops. The first Oreo was sold on March 6, 1912, to a grocer in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The Oreo Biscuit was renamed in 1921 to "Oreo Sandwich" and in 1948, the name was again changed to "Oreo Crème Sandwich"; in 1974 it became the "Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie", the name that has remained to this day. A new design for the face of the cookie was launched in 1924, while the modern-day Oreo design was developed in 1952 by William A. Turnier, incorporating the Nabisco logo. In 1920, a second lemon crème-filled variety of the Oreo was introduced, as an alternative to the white crème-filled variety, but this was discontinued in 1924 and the original flavor was the only version available for the next several decades.

The modern Oreo cookie filling was developed by Nabisco's principal food scientist, Sam Porcello, who retired from Nabisco in 1993. Porcello held five patents directly related to his work on the Oreo and he also created a range of Oreo cookies that were covered in dark and white chocolate. In the early 1990s, health concerns prompted Nabisco to replace the lard in the crème filling with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Twenty-first century

From January 2006, Nabisco replaced the trans-fat in the Oreo cookie with non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Nabisco began a marketing campaign in 2008, advertising the use of Oreo cookies in an online game called DSRL (which stands for "Double Stuf Racing League"), introduced the week before Super Bowl XLII. DSRL had been endorsed by football brothers, Peyton and Eli Manning, while the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, also joined, challenging the Mannings to a race that was aired in an advertisement on January 18, 2009. Another campaign was launched for Golden Double Stuf Oreo cookies, in which the Manning brothers were challenged by Donald Trump and a character called "Double Trump", played by Darrell Hammond; that competition aired on January 24, 2010. The Mannings brothers won both races. Another advertisement featured a "Hooded Menace" threatening to take over the DSRL, with Eli Manning and Stufy (the DSRL mascot) needing some help, which aired on September 14, 2010. Six days later, it was announced that Shaquille O'Neal and Apolo Ohno had joined Oreo's DSRL veterans, Eli Manning and Venus Williams.

In April 2011, Oreo announced its special edition Oreo cookies with blue crème to promote the 2011 3D computer animated film, Rio. The promotion included stickers inside each package of cookies.

International distribution

Oreo cookies are distributed worldwide through a variety of sales and marketing channels. As their popularity continues to grow, so too does the amount of distribution that comes with it. According to the Kraft Foods company, the Oreo is the "World's Best Selling Cookie". In March 2012, Time magazine reported that Oreo cookies were available in more than 100 different countries. Overall, it is estimated that since the Oreo cookie's inception in 1912, over 450 billion Oreos have been produced worldwide.

Oreo biscuits (as they are known in the United Kingdom) were first introduced into Britain through the supermarket chain Sainsbury's. This was the only store that had stocked Oreos in the UK for several years, until May 2008 when Kraft decided to fully launch the Oreo across the whole of the UK. It was repackaged in the more familiar British tube design, accompanied by a £4.5M television advertising campaign based around the "twist, lick, dunk" catchphrase.

In the UK, Kraft partnered with McDonald's to introduce the Oreo McFlurry (which was already on sale in several other countries) into a number of McDonald's locations during its annual Great Tastes of America promotions; in October 2015, the Oreo McFlurry became a permanent menu item at McDonald's in the UK. An Oreo flavored "Krushem" drink was also on sale in KFC stores across Britain.

Oreo cookies were introduced onto the Indian market by Cadbury India in 2011. The biscuit industry in India is estimated to be worth around 1.8 billion dollars.

In Pakistan, Oreo is manufactured and sold by Lefèvre-Utile, also known as LU.


Most of the Oreo production was once carried out at the Hershey's factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Oreo cookies for the Asian markets are manufactured in India, Indonesia, and China, with the exception of the Japanese market, where they are manufactured locally under the brand "Yamazaki-Nabisco". Oreo cookies for the European market are made in Spain; they are made in Russia (Mondelēz Rus) for consumers in several CIS countries; and those sold in Australia are manufactured in Indonesia (previously China) or Spain, depending on the flavor. The version produced in Canada (sold under the Christie's brand) includes coconut oil and is sold exclusively in that region. Manufacture of Oreo biscuits began in Pakistan in early 2014, in collaboration with Mondelēz International of the United States and Continental Biscuits Limited (CBL) of Pakistan, at the CBL production plant in Sukkur.

Oreo boycott

In 2015, Mondelēz announced its decision to close some of its American factories and move Oreo production to Mexico, prompting an Oreo boycott. In 2016, after production had started in Mexico, the AFL-CIO encouraged the boycott and published consumer guides to help identify which Mondelēz products were made in Mexico. In July 2016, Oreo cookies ceased production in Chicago.