47°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Hydrox in the wings, Oreos struggle to survive

Oreo cookies are in trouble and Nabisco (a gargantuan corporation now owned by an even more gargantuan corporation, Mondelēz International) is offering a couple of new novelty Oreos to try to revive them.

They are thin Oreos and key lime Oreos.

The politics of cookies are not that different from other kinds of politics. The company has previously made Oreos thicker and has cranked out flavor after flavor such as cookies and cream€ and fruit punch. (Like all commercial s’€™mores products, Oreo’€™s s’€™mores flavor does not taste like s’€™mores. Nabisco, like all other corporations, cannot seem to understand that the key to creating genuine s’€™mores taste is the burnt marshmallow flavor.) It also has “€œflavors”€ like “€œRed Velvet,”€ which is a color and a texture, not a flavor.

There is a restaurant in Las Vegas which claims to serve the best deep fried Oreos in the world, probably not a high standard to meet.

Anyway, Nabisco is now resorting to Oreo-flavored Oreos, pitting regular thickness Oreos and thick Oreos against new thin Oreos,€“ though it,€™s probably a mistake to use the term “€œoriginal”€ in describing these cookies. After all, they are a ripoff of Hydrox cookies, once manufactured by Sunshine Biscuits and later discontinued by Kellogg’€™s (mergers and acquisitions wreak havoc with the public’s preferences,€“ between Sunshine and Kellogg’€™s there was Keebler). Hydrox arrived on the market in 1908. The imitator, Oreos, arrived four years later.

I remember in the 1970s reading an article in Esquire magazine about Oreos. The author was surprised to discover in his research that Oreos are Hydrox imitations, but after tasting both he preferred Hydrox.

Oreos seem to have been designed to make Hydrox look good. Hydrox were made of firmer cake layers, so that when dunked in milk they didn’t break apart and fall to the bottom of the milk glass like Oreos. (Oreo claims that “€œYou can still dunk in the dark” when, in fact, you can’€™t,€“ not and keep the cookie in one piece.) Oreos absorb milk like a sponge. Hydrox absorbed milk more slowly. Sweeteners were loaded into Oreos. Hydrox were sweet but not syrupy and cloying.

Hydrox lovers never gave up on them. In January 2008, the Wall Street Journal ran an article headlined “€œThe Hydrox Cookie Is Dead, and Fans Won’€™t Get Over It.”€ Later that year, Hydrox temporarily came back on the market.

Today the Hydrox name and recipe are owned by Leaf Brands, which keeps putting new posts on its website promising the return of Hydrox. Until that happens, Hydrox lovers say that the Paul Newman sandwich cookies are the closest thing on the market to Hydrox.

Leaf also promises it will drop high fructose corn syrup from the product in favor of actual sugar.

Last week a press release service issued an essay, “€œHow Oreo Stayed Relevant for 100 Years”€, written by a marketing professor. Of course, if Oreo were still “€œrelevant”€ (whatever that means when applied to a cookie), Nabisco would not be desperately searching for a way to save the product.

A few days earlier, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle went onto the House floor to denounce Nabisco: “€œThe company that makes Oreo cookies and Ritz Crackers, two very well-known American brands, decided that for the first time in 60 years they would close their legendary Philadelphia plant in the heart of my district.”€

NBC has run a piece questioning whether the new thin Oreo is healthy, which is like asking if a hot fudge sundae is healthy. It’€™s a cookie, for crying out loud. Granted, calling it a “thin”€ cookie does smack of language intended to deceive consumers into assuming that the product is low calorie.

What exactly caused Oreos to decline in popularity with the public is anyone’s guess, but using a 2009 advertising campaign to associate Oreos with Donald Trump probably didn’€™t help.

Dennis Myers is an award winning journalist who has reported on Nevada’€™s capital, government and politics for several decades. He has also served as Nevada’€™s chief deputy secretary of state.

 

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
COVID-19 and how residents are ignoring the self-quarantine

Some residents of Nevada ignore the call for voluntarily self-quarantining and social distancing. There are still a lot of people out in the community, and traffic on the roads is still substantial. If you make a quick trip to pick up essentials at the grocery store, you will see that stores are still being overrun by shoppers madly searching for the ever-elusive rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. Head into a big box hardware store to pick up repair parts, and shoppers fill the aisles who have no idea what social distancing means. Bored at home and seeking something productive to do, homeowners have decided to occupy their free time by tackling projects around the yard and house. Signs around the stores asking shoppers to maintain social distancing are largely ignored by many as they go about their business. Yes, you will see some residents wearing surgical face masks. You will also see some wearing homemade masks of cloth or windsocks pulled up and cover their face and nose. Some shoppers, as they navigate down crowded aisles, will move to keep at least six feet between them and other shoppers. Then there are those shoppers who crowd in on top of you as stand waiting to check out without any regard to the prominently places signs asking them to stay back at least six feet. For them and for others who are not heeding the request to stay at home and for social distancing, the COVID-19 virus is not a real threat.

By the time we notice we’re hungry, it may be too late

“As the top U.S. watermelon-producing state prepares for harvest, Reuters reports, “many of the workers needed to collect the crop are stuck in Mexico …. Without the workers, crops could rot in fields throughout the country,” starting in Florida and California where major harvests begin in April and May.

It’s not the zombie apocalypse we were promised

For years we have all watched the movies and read the books about a global pandemic that would herald the end of mankind as we know it. When the virus was first reported, I was alarmed and was very glad that the president at least stopped flights from China. What happened next still puzzles me.

California Lottery

No one matched all five numbers and the mega number in the Wednesday, March 11 drawing of the California Super Lotto. The next jackpot will be at least $10 million.