Oreo Celebrates 100th birthday, Invites Consumers to Join the Party

Consumers can join the birthday celebration with Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo cookies.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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Kraft Foods, the proud custodian of the Nabisco Oreo brand, is celebrating Oreo's 100th birthday on March 6, and invites all consumers to join in the festivities for one of the world's most iconic and interactive brands.

Kraft can boast Oreo is the world's favorite cookie, the best-selling cookie brand of the 21st century (with $1.5 billion in global annual revenues), and one of the company's 12 billion-dollar annual-sales brands. It's enjoyed in more than 100 countries. Some 25 million Oreos are sold per day (more than 9 billion per year), and children and adults have consumed more than 490 billion since "milk's favorite cookie" – an early advertising slogan -- was introduced in 1912.

If you hurry, you can buy Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo cookies and celebrate at home. One wafer is embossed with a special design (a candle and words "Oreo 100"). The creamy white filling has flecks of colored candy sprinkles reminiscent of birthday cake frosting. This Oreo even tastes a bit like birthday cake.

Everyone loves the unforgettable ritual known as Twist, Lick, Dunk, before they eat their Oreo. Since most of us grew up eating Oreo cookies, we understand what that means and can defend our version of the best way to eat them -- twist off one side, lick the crème off first, dunk them whole or in part in milk, and enjoy.

As an addictive, intuitive, indulgent Scorpio, my philosophy is more is better. I put my Oreos (always seven for good feng shui) in a pretty plate (for visual splendor) standing up on their sides and bookcased with a dark chocolate truffle on either side. I contemplate whether or not to roll the Oreos across the table (to ensure the stuffing is distributed properly), then slowly, one at a time, I investigate and savor the Original Oreo or Chocolate Crème stuffing first, followed by the cookie.

My beverage of choice is a double espresso, but milk is prefered by most fans. If you have not been properly initiated and need dunking lessons, check out www.wikihow.com/Eat-an-Oreo-Cookie.

That said, let's go back to the beginning, when several baking companies merged to form the National Biscuit Co. (NaBisCo) in 1898. Nabisco created Barnum's Animal cookies in 1902 and made them famous by selling them in a little box designed like a cage with a string as a handle. It was 1912 when Nabisco came up with a new idea for a cookie: two chocolate wafer disks embossed with a simple wreath -- a triumph of a design -- with a crème filling in between. The cookie design was augmented in 1924 with two pairs of turtledoves, and its present design debuted in 1952.

Decoding the current design, the circle topped with a two-bar cross with the word Oreo is a variant of the Nabisco logo. Or it could be an early European symbol for quality. Or possibly the Cross of Lorraine, as carried by the Knights Templar into the Crusades, reports Atlantic Monthly.

How did the Oreo get its name? Even Nabisco veterans aren't certain. Some believe it was taken from the French word for gold, "or," since the cookies initially came in gold-colored packages. Others claim the name stemmed from the original hill-shaped test version; "oreo" is Greek for mountain. My favorite theory is the name is a combination of "re" from crème, sandwiched between two "O's" representing either the shape of the cookie or the two O's in chOcOlate. Then again, it could simply be because Oreo is easy to pronounce and rolls nicely off the tongue.

When the first Oreo rolled off the production line at Manhattan's Chelsea Market bakery in 1912, the first sale was in Hoboken, N.J. The dunkable cookies were first packaged in bulk tins and sold by weight. Back then, grocers paid 30 cents per lb. for Oreo.

For almost 50 years the Oreo cookie remained fundamentally the same, but brand extensions emerged beyond the cookie category. Oreo expanded into desserts in foodservice with Oreo Cookie Pie Crust and Oreo Brownies, and today is available as Oreo Pie Crust, Oreo Wafers, Oreo Base Cake cookie crumbs, and Oreo Crème Icing Variegate.

In markets around the world, Oreo comes in local flavors, like dulche de leche and green tea ice cream, as well as fun shapes and forms. In China, Oreos are shaped like straws, and you can buy a long rectangular Oreo wafer, the length of your index finger -- great for dunking. 

On February 15, 2011 Oreo was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the first brand to attempt, and achieve, the record for most "likes" on a Facebook post within a 24-hour period, generating 114,619 likes. And Oreo, which has the third-largest Facebook community of any brand worldwide (and a page accessible in Spanish and French, as well as English), received responses such as, "We need a love button instead of a like." I agree! (See the page at http://www.facebook.com/oreo)

Happy birthday, Oreo. A we raise our glass (of cold milk) for this occasion, we wish you continued longevity, and thank you for all the fun you've provided for 100 years.

History of Oreo … 100 years and counting!


1912 -- Oreo is introduced, with the first Oreo rolling off the line at the Chelsea Market bakery in Manhattan. 

1913 -- Oreo cookie is registered as a Nabisco trademark.

1921 -- The name "Oreo Biscuit" is changed to "Oreo Sandwich."

1923 -- First advertisement showing the "twist" appears on trolley cars. Oreo cookies available in a self-service fiberboard package.

1928 -- Oreo is exported to several Spanish-speaking countries in Central and Latin America.

1937 -- The name "Oreo Sandwich" is changed to "Oreo Crème Sandwich."

1949 -- Oreo introduced in Canada.

1952 -- Cookie design modified to include the Nabisco Biscuit Co.'s colophon emblem.

1965 -- Oreo cookies packaging changes to a 1-lb. cardboard carton that contains three waxed paper wrapped "stack packs" (but are still available in the 1-lb., 11-oz and 6-oz cellophane bags, as well as single-serve packets).

Late 1960s -- Oreo launched in Venezuela.

1974 -- Oreo Double Stuf Chocolate Sandwich cookies introduced in the U.S.

1983 -- Oreo cookies are supplied to approved ice cream manufacturers for use in products marketed under the trade name of Oreo brand "Cookies 'N Cream Ice Cream." Complete line of single-serve items designed to satisfy consumer snacking needs introduced in U.S.

1985 -- Oreo Mint Crème cookies introduced in U.S. for limited time. Oreo Double Stuf cookies introduced in Canada.

1986 -- Oreo Ice Cream introduced in Canada.

1987 -- Oreo celebrates its 75th birthday.  Oreo Big Stuf cookies introduced for a limited time in retail market. Fudge Covered Oreo Sandwich cookies introduced in U.S.

1988 -- Oreo Baking Crumbs (for recipes) introduced in Canada.

1989 – "Father and Son" TV commercial marks the launch of the "Moments" campaign.

1990 -- Oreo Summer Fun Pack introduced in Canada and sells over 900,000 packages in just three weeks. White Fudge Covered Oreo cookies introduced as holiday seasonal product in U.S.

1991 -- Oreo cookies available with orange colored filling for Halloween in U.S.  Winter White Oreo (White Fudge Covered Oreo Cookies) introduced in Canada.

1992 -- Mini Oreo cookies available nationwide in U.S. and first introduced in Canada.

1993 -- Oreo cookies now sold in 30 countries worldwide. Mini Oreo cookies with red filling introduced for holiday season in U.S.  Oreo Cookie Pie Crust introduced in U.S.

1994 -- Reduced Fat Oreo cookies introduced in U.S.  Oreo launches in Brazil and Iberia. 

1995 -- Oreo Chocolate Sandwich cookies introduced in Argentina. Holiday Oreo cookies with red crème filling produced for Christmas holiday season in U.S.  Oreo launches in Hong Kong.

1996 -- Oreo cookies introduced in China.

1998 -- Oreo Global Moments Campaign launch.

1999 -- In a survey conducted to mark the turn of the century, 86 percent of Americans chose Oreo cookies when asked which items they would like to see continued in the next century. Oreo ranked second behind "newspapers." (source: Yankelovich Partners Inc.)

2000 -- Oreo cookies enjoyed by nine out of 10 households in the U.S. Mini Oreo cookies in convenient on-the-go packs introduced.

2001 -- Chocolate Crème Oreo cookies and Chocolate Crème Mini Oreo cookies introduced in U.S.  Oreo Fudge Covered Mint Sandwich cookies introduced in U.S.

2002 -- Double Delight Oreo cookies introduced in U.S. in Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crème, Mint and Crème and Coffee and Crème.

2003 -- Oreo puts the chocolate on the inside and two golden wafers on the outside with the launch of "Uh-Oh!" This product was originally intended to be an "in and out" product but it was so popular that the brand decided to keep it.

2004 -- Golden Oreo launched. Oreo Brownies introduced in Canada as foodservice dessert. Football Oreo cookies introduced as "in and out" product in U.S. Reduced Fat Oreo cookies are reformulated to have 0g of trans fat per serving.

2005 -- First-ever "Oreo and Milk" jingle contest.

2006 -- Oreo becomes China's No. 1- selling biscuit.

2007 -- Oreo launched in Greece, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Oreo Cakesters launched in U.S.  Snack 'n Seal packaging introduced in the U.S.

2008 -- Oreo launched in UK, Netherlands and Italy. Double Stuf Racing League (DSRL) launched in U.S. First-ever global Oreo campaign launches, Global Moments. Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs Oreo Mini Cakesters introduced in U.S. Oreo Fudgees introduced as a limited edition.

2009 -- Oreo Fun Stix and Golden Double Stuf launched. Oreo biscuits are the subject of the world's largest blind taste test with 1,471 people gathering in Madrid, Spain.

2010 -- Oreo launched in Ukraine.

2011 -- Oreo introduced in Poland, Germany and India. On Feb. 16, Guinness World Records officially recognized Kraft Foods' Oreo brand as being the first brand to attempt, and achieve, the record for most "likes" on a Facebook post within a 24-hour period. On February 15, it generated 114,619 likes in response to this post: "'Like' this post to join other Oreo fans around the world in setting a Guinness World Record for most 'likes' to a post in 24 hours. Oreo is the world's favorite cookie, and with your help, it will be the most 'liked.'"

2012 – Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo introduced in U.S.

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