Which Little Debbie Snack Has Been Around The Longest?

When you turn down the snack aisle of the grocery store, you can quickly become overwhelmed by the number of options. However, you can always rely on a familiar face. Rest assured that Little Debbie, in her familiar plaid shirt and round sun cap, sits smiling on the packages of a myriad of treats.

But who was Little Debbie? Apparently, she's the granddaughter of O.D. and Ruth McKee, the couple who founded McKee Foods, the snack empire built on the back of Little Debbie treats. These days, the adorable mascot is the emblem of a company that pulls in $1.4 billion in annual sales, while the real Debbie McKee-Fowler serves as McKee's executive vice president.

O.D. McKee bought his first bakery in 1934, but it was a while before his first mass-produced item hit the market. Incidentally, the oldest Little Debbie snack, the Oatmeal Creme Pie, is still around, and remains one of the company's most ubiquitous offerings.

The origins of the Oatmeal Creme Pie, Little Debbie's oldest creation

Though this obviously depends on personal preference, in a ranking of every Little Debbie snack from worst to best, the Oatmeal Creme Pie will generally wind up somewhere around the top. As it turns out, the Oatmeal Creme Pie was also the first original item that the McKee's churned out in their kitchen.

In the 1930s, spurred by his family's abysmal financial situation in the wake of the Great Depression, O.D. McKee became a traveling cookie salesman. Eventually, he made enough money to buy Jack's Cookie Company in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Jack's sold three simple cookies for a penny a piece, but McKee had the brilliant idea to bake soft, chewy oatmeal cookies and sandwich sweet cream filling between two of them. Thus, the famous Oatmeal Creme Pie was born.

O.D. sold these sweet sandwiches for a nickel. Inflation has clearly infiltrated the snack aisle, as the per-unit cost of an Oatmeal Creme Pie in a modern 12-pack is around 22 cents.

The Oatmeal Creme Pie is synonymous with Little Debbie snacks

Although McKee churned out his first sandwich cookie in the '30s, mass production of the Oatmeal Creme Pie didn't begin until the '60s. That was when the Little Debbie brand was born; Oatmeal Creme Pies were the first prepackaged snack that the company sold in 12-packs.

Oatmeal Creme Pies were a sweet success for the McKees and Little Debbie, and had an immediate effect on the company's bottom line. They're still a popular snack today. In a Facebook post, Little Debbie revealed that the company sold a staggering 390 million Oatmeal Creme Pies in 2018.

It's easy to understand why the Oatmeal Creme Pie has stood the test of time. It has a cream-to-cookie ratio that is only rivaled by Nabisco's Oreo, and its flat shape makes it perfectly packable. But be warned: Due to the end of a business deal, Canada may have just lost Little Debbie snacks forever, so you shouldn't take your Oatmeal Creme Pies for granted.