The first Oreo cookie was introduced to the United States of America in 1912. The origin of its name remains unknown, but there are many theories as to where it came from. Some say the name comes from the compounds of crème and chocolate, others say that it’s a word derived from similar French or Greek words.
The National Biscuit Company, now known as Nabisco, were the ones to produce and sell Oreo cookies back in the early 20th century. The cookie was developed in Manhattan, and the same block between 15th and 16th streets on Ninth Avenue is called “Oreo Way” today. The name Oreo was first trademarked on March 14th, 1912.
Originally, Oreos were sold in tins and sold by weight. The very first Oreo was sold to a grocer in New Jersey. At first, the Oreo had a wreath around the edge of its design, while the word “Oreo” was visible in the centre of each side of the cookie.
In 1921, the Oreo Biscuit was renamed to the “Oreo Sandwich”, the name changed again in 1948, and then again in 1974 – when it became today’s “Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie”. Our modern Oreo cookie design was created by William A. Turnier in 1952, and it uses the Nabisco logo in the design.
A second alternative filling flavour did hit the shelves in 1920, but the chocolate biscuit and lemon crème filling wasn’t well received, and discontinued four years later. For many years, the original cookie sandwich was the only variety available. In the 1990s, the recipe changed, using partially hydrogenated vegetable oil rather than lard in its crème filling. Because of this, the Oreo is “accidentally vegan”; a term used to describe products that do not carry the vegan label but have no animal products in their ingredients.
Oreos can be found around the world. In the UK, you can typically find Original, Chocolate Crème, Mint and Birthday Cake flavours of the cookie. Others can be found in stores that carry American candy or in sweet shops that import from America. For non-UK flavours, it’s best to buy from American candy sites, get a subscription box full of different candy to try at a great price, or even buy straight from American candy stores.
The decision to launch Oreos across the UK was one that was made in 2008 by Kraft Foods, they were repackaged into our familiar tube design (in America, they’re sold in box packaging), and a new television campaign was produced. The “twist, lick, dunk” advert was born, and everyone was suddenly eating Oreos the right way. Though, of course, there’s no real wrong way to eat a delicious Oreo cookie.
In America, many more unique and interesting flavours of Oreo can be brought; including Red Velvet, Peanut Butter, Golden Birthday Cake, and Cinnamon Bun. Oreos have developed a lot since their production, and though most Oreos keep the original shape, there are also Oreo Thins, Double Stuffed Oreo, and even Enrobed Oreos (Oreos covered in chocolate).