When it comes to packaged cookies, there might very well be none more famous (or popular) than the Oreo. The little chocolate crème cookie sandwich was invented in New York City in 1912, and since then it’s become the world’s best-selling cookie, with more than 450 billion sold in total. But there are plenty of little facts you probably didn’t know about the little cookie that could; here are six of our favorites.
Nobody Knows Where the Name Came From
The name’s origin is a mystery, but it most likely has to do with “or” being the French word for gold, which was the color of the original packaging.
It Was a Knockoff
The Oreo was actually originally introduced by Nabisco in order to compete with the similar Hydrox cookie, which was invented by rival Sunshine in 1908. Hydrox cookies were crunchier and had a less-sweet filling, and while they haven’t been around for a while, new owner Leaf Brands is planning on getting them back on supermarket shelves by the end of the year.
They Used to Contain Lard
The original fat used in the filling was lard; it was replaced with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in the 1990s. In Canada, the filling is made with coconut oil.
The Official Name Has Changed
It was originally called the Oreo Biscuit; that name was changed to the Oreo Sandwich in 1921. Then in 1937 it became the Oreo Crème Sandwich, and since 1974 it’s been the Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie.
They Released Plenty of Spinoffs
In the 1920s a lemon variety was briefly available, and fast-forwarding to the 1980s, a “Big Stuf” Oreo, about 10 times the size of a regular one, was available for four years. And who can forget Oreo O’s cereal, introduced in 1998? It was discontinued when Post (which owned the cereal recipe) and Kraft (which owns the rights to Oreo) stopped co-branding.
The Ratio is Precise
The cookie-to-crème ratio of an original Oreo is 71-percent to 29-percent in every cookie.