is a trademark for a popular sandwich cookie by the Nabisco Division
of Kraft Foods. The current design consists of a sweet, white
filling commonly referred to as 'cream' or 'crème', sandwiched
between two circular chocolate or golden cookie pieces.
Over 491 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since they were first
introduced, making them the best selling cookie of the 20th century.
Its most recent packaging slogan is "Milk's Favorite Cookie", which
is a slight change from the original, "America's Favorite Cookie"
(though some packages in the U.S. still use the original slogan).
The Oreo cookie was developed and produced by Nabisco in 1912 at its
Chelsea factory in New York City. It was commercialized in order to
target the British market, whose biscuits were seen by Nabisco to be
too 'ordinary'. Originally, Oreo was mound-shaped and available in
two flavors; lemon meringue and cream. In America, they were sold
for 25 cents a pound in novelty tin cans with glass tops, which
allowed customers to see the cookies.
A newer design for the cookie was introduced in 1916, and as the
cream filling was by far the more popular of the two available
flavors, Nabisco discontinued production of the lemon meringue
filling during the 1920s. The modern-day Oreo was developed in 1952
by William A Turnier, to include the Nabisco logo.
Oreo is very similar to the Hydrox cookie manufactured by Sunshine,
which was introduced in 1908, leading to speculation that Nabisco
obtained the idea from Sunshine. Having lost market share to Oreo
for years, Hydrox cookies were withdrawn in 1999.
The product is distributed under the Kraft parent label and has no
mention of the US sub-division Nabisco that is used in all countries
where it is available for retail. In Canada, it is marketed under
the Christie brand name.
Oreo's recipe used to use pork fat (lard) to create the crème
The Oreo was originally called the Oreo Biscuit. The name was later
changed to the Oreo Sandwich in 1921. In 1948, the name was changed
again to the Oreo Creme Sandwich. It was then changed to the Oreo
Chocolate Sandwich Cookie in 1974.
Oreo comes from the Greek root for appetizing as in orexin or
orexigenic (appetite stimulating) or anorexic (loss of appetite).
There are many theories pointing to the origin of the name 'Oreo',
including derivations from the French word 'Or', meaning gold (as
early packaging was gold), or the Greek word 'Oros', meaning
mountain or hill (as the original Oreo was mound shaped) or even the
Greek word 'Oreo', meaning beautiful or nice.
Other theories are that the 're' from cream was 'sandwiched' between
the two Os from cookie, or the word 'just seemed like a nice,
melodic combination of sounds'. A TV spot for the Got Milk? campaign
showed a false etymology where, when at a board meeting to decide
the name of the cookie, one of the members is asked for his opinion;
the member, who just ate a cookie and does not have any milk to wash
it down responds "I don't know," which is heard by the board member