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The "Oreo Biscuit" was developed and first produced by the National Biscuit Company (today known as Nabisco) in 1912 at itsChelsea factory in New York City, which was located on Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets. Today, this same block of Ninth Avenue is known as "Oreo Way." The name Oreo was first trademarked on March 14, 1912. It was launched as an imitation of theHydrox cookie manufactured by Sunshine company, introduced in 1908.
The original design of the cookie 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 in novelty cans with clear glass tops.
The Oreo Biscuit was renamed in 1921, to "Oreo Sandwich." A new design for the cookie was introduced in 1924. A lemon-filled variety was available briefly during the 1920s, but was discontinued.
In 1948, the Oreo Sandwich was renamed the "Oreo Creme Sandwich"; it was changed in 1974 to the Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie. The modern-day Oreo design was developed in 1952 by William A. Turnier, to include the Nabisco logo.
The modern Oreo cookie filling was developed by Nabisco's principal food scientist, Sam Porcello. Porcello held five patents directly related to his work on the Oreo. He also created a line of Oreos covered in dark chocolate and white chocolate. Porcello retired from Nabisco in 1993.
Nabisco began a marketing program in 2008, advertising the use of Oreo cookies in a game called DSRL, which stands for "Double Stuf Racing League." The DSRL was introduced one week prior to Super Bowl XLII. This sport had also been endorsed by football brothers Peyton Manning and Eli Manning. Sisters Venus and Serena Williams have also joined, and challenged the Mannings to a race, which aired in an ad on January 18, 2009. Another campaign started for Golden Double Stuf Oreo cookies with the brothers being challenged by Donald Trump & "Double Trump" played by Darrell Hammond; the date for this competition was January 24, 2010. The Mannings won in both cases. A new ad campaign is currently revolving around a 'Hooded Menace' threatening to take over the Double Stuf Racing League, and Eli Manning and Stufy (the DSRL mascot) needing some help airing beginning on or around September 14, 2010. Six days later, it was announced that Shaquille O'Neal and Apolo Ohno joined Oreo Double Stuf Racing League vets Eli Manning and Venus Williams.
In April 2011, Oreo announced its special edition Oreo cookies with blue cream in promotion of the 2011 3D computer animated film Rio. The promotion included stickers inside each package of cookies. Two types of contests were also announced: first, by completing an album of stickers, consumers could win three movie passes and medium snack bar combos; second, by finding winning stickers in packages with prizes, including a trip to Rio de Janeiro, backpacks, cinema passes for a year, and 3D glasses. The promotion ended May 30, 2011, and was available in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.
In June 2012, Oreo posted an ad displaying an Oreo cookie with rainbow colored cream to commemorate Gay Pride month. The cookie itself is not being manufactured or available for sale. The ad prompted some negative backlash on Facebook, including the creation of a Facebook page calling for a boycott of Oreo. Kraft have stood by their promotion stating "Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness. We feel the Oreo ad is a fun reflection of our values."
Nobody seems to know where the name 'Oreo' came from, but there are many theories, including derivations from the French word 'Or', meaning gold (as early packaging was gold), or the Greek word 'Oreo', meaning beautiful, nice or well done. 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'.
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In Canada, Oreo products are manufactured and sold under the Christie brand. However, the Canadian version contains coconut oil, giving it a different taste from its American counterpart. All the Oreos in Canada are manufactured in a Kraft plant in Montréal's Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough on Viau street.
Oreo cookies were introduced to Chinese consumers in 1996 and sales gradually grew. By 2006, Oreo became the best-selling cookie in the People's Republic of China, after altering its recipe to have a lower sugar content to suit local tastes. Kraft Foods also introduced smaller size packages of Oreo cookies that became more affordable to the majority of Chinese consumers. Kraft began a grassroots marketing campaign in China to "educate" Chinese consumers about the American tradition of pairing milk with cookies. The company created an Oreo apprentice program at 30 Chinese universities that drew 6,000 student applications. Three hundred of the applicants were trained to become Oreo brand ambassadors, and some students rode around Beijing on bicycles with wheel covers resembling Oreo cookies and handed out cookies to more than 300,000 consumers. Others organized Oreo-themed basketball games to reinforce the idea of dunking cookies in milk. Television commercials depicted children twisting apart Oreo cookies, licking the cream center and dipping the chocolate cookie halves into glasses of milk.
Although sales improved, Kraft still felt the Oreo could do better and decided to reinvent the traditional, round biscuit to a wafer. The new offering was called Oreo Wafer Sticks and consists of four layers of crispy wafer filled with vanilla and chocolate cream, and on the exterior is coated with chocolate. The wafer was also formulated to ensure that the chocolate coating was not too sweet for Chinese consumers and product could be shipped across the country---withstanding the cold climate in the north and the hot, humid weather in the south. The new Oreo was outselling traditional round Oreo cookies in China in 2006, and Kraft has begun selling the wafers elsewhere in Asia, as well as in Australia and Canada. Kraft has also introduced Oreo Wafer Rolls, a tube-shaped wafer lined with cream, in China. The hollow cookie can be used as a straw through which to drink milk.
Over the period of 2006–2007, Kraft doubled its Oreo sales in China, making China the second-largest Oreo market globally behind the United States. With the help of those sales, Oreo revenue topped $1 billion world-wide for the first time in 2007.
Oreo introduced new flavor varieties from 2008 through 2010. Oreo with strawberry creme filling was introduced in 2009 and Oreo Ice Cream flavors were introduced in 2010. Oreo Ice Cream flavors included Vanilla and Green Tea ice cream flavors. "Double-Fruit" flavored fillings, orange and mango or strawberry and blueberry, are also available. Mini Oreo, a smaller version of the original cookie, were introduced to China late in 2010. In April 2012, in celebration of Oreo's 100 year anniversary, Birthday Cake Oreos, debuted in China.
Oreo used Shanghai-born Yao Ming, the tallest player in the National Basketball Association, as a brand ambassador, featuring him 'dunking' Oreo cookies like a basketball in its 2010 Oreo advertising campaign.
In February 2011, Oreo initiated a large advertising campaign in Croatia and the product became available in supermarkets and shops.
It was first introduced in India in March 2011 under Cadbury, a major chocolate brand recently acquired by Kraft, with the tag line, it is the world's No. 1 biscuit. It is also available in local McDonald's restaurants as an addition to McFlurry ice cream. Before the launch of the brand in India, Britannia Industries launched a similar brand named Treat-o.
In 2004, the convenience store chain Deli de Luca started selling Oreo in all of their stores. It was welcomed by consumers, and is the top-selling cookie to young people. Other larger chains in Norway (Ica, Rema 1000, Meny and Ultra) began selling Oreo cookies as well and they can now be found in almost every convenience store in urban/suburban Norway. In 2005, the stores stopped the importation to Norway because Kraft Foods took over.
In February 2011, Oreo became available in Polish supermarkets and shops, promoted with a huge advertising campaign.
In January 2012, Oreo became available in Czech supermarkets and shops, promoted with a huge advertising campaign.
In May 2008, following stocking of Oreo (called Oreo biscuits in UK) in the supermarket chain Sainsbury's, Kraft decided to fully launch the Oreo across the UK, repackaged in the more familiar British tube design, accompanied with a £4.5M television advertising campaign around the 'twist, lick, dunk' catchphrase. Kraft recently partnered withMcDonald's to bring the Oreo McFlurry (already on sale in many countries) to a few McDonald's locations during its yearly Great Tastes of America promotions. An Oreo flavored "Krushem" drink was also on sale in UK KFC stores. The UK Oreo website gives a slightly different ingredients list to that of the US product. Unlike the US version, UK oreos contain whey powder and so are not suitable for people who avoid milk products. On 6 December 2011, Kraft announced that Oreos would start to be produced in the UK. Their Cadbury factory at Sheffield in South Yorkshire has been selected to manufacture Oreos in the UK for the first time. Construction of the Oreo plant in Sheffield is due to start in March 2012.
In January 1994, Oreo became available in supermarkets and shops, promoted with a huge advertising campaign.
According to a statement from Kim McMiller, an Associate Director of Consumer Relations, a two-stage process is used to make Oreo cookies. The base cake dough is formed into the familiar round cookies by a rotary mold at the entrance of a 300-foot-long oven. Much of current Oreo production is done at the Kraft/Nabisco factory in Richmond, Virginia. Oreo cookies for the Asian markets are manufactured in Indonesia, India and China. Oreo cookies for Europe are made in Spain and in Ukraine for consumers in several CIS countries.
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In addition to their traditional design of two chocolate wafers separated by a cream filling, Oreo cookies have been produced in many different varieties since they were first introduced, and this list is only a guide to some of the more notable and recent types; not all are available in every country. Notable flavors in the US are:
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