Did you know that Oreo is not the original American sandwich cookie? And that in fact the ACTUAL original American sandwich cookie has major beef with the brand, to the point of filing a complaint to the FTC alleging Oreo’s parent company is making stores hide their competitor’s wares? Meet Hydrox!
I’d never heard of Hydrox until Today covered their extremely feisty firing on Oreo. Apparently, while Oreos have become the more iconic brand thanks to the all-powerful marketing savvy of Nabisco, they were in fact second to market—the Hydrox was created in 1908, the Oreo in 1912. Although, according to Wikipedia, Carvel DID use Hydrox as its preferred cookie crumb until 2012, and I am assured by a reliable source (it’s Hazel) that those cookie crumbs were good. Keebler shut the brand down in 2003, but it was revived by a man named Ellia Kassoff, who runs Leaf Brands.
And yet, the endless war with Oreo continues. Their current tagline: “The original sandwich cookie is back, don’t eat a knock off!” And they took it to the next level in a recent Facebook post:
We @hydroxcookie have been very frustrated with the hiding of our cookies at major retailers by the folks @oreo, so we finally filed an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission last week in which we claim they have been trying to make it hard to find our cookies in stores nationally, in hopes of lowering sales volume and having us discontinued.
We believe in competition and choice but we firmly believe the folks @Mondelez (the owners of Oreo) have been undertaking a national program to damage our brand and stop us from competing. Many of you over the last few years have been great at taking pictures when you see #hydroxcookies being moved or blocked from store shelves and we really appreciate your help.
A spokesperson for Oreo’s parent company, Mondelez, told Today they’re “confident that this accusation has no merit,” continuing:
“Much of our shelf placement is due to the fact that Oreo is the #1 cookie in the [United States], and retailers typically align premium placement to the fastest selling products, based on consumer demand. We always operate with integrity, and we are proud to be America’s favorite cookie.”
No offense to Hydrox—which I say because watching Hydrox go after Oreo on social media with guns blazing, I am slightly terrified of Hydrox—but it seems like they’ve got some additional problems besides Oreo allegedly hiding their cookies. Like their name, which has always been an issue. Atlas Obscura reported:
The truth was a bit more complicated, however. Intended to imply hydrogen and oxygen—the two chemicals that make up water—the result has a more clinical, less roll-off-the-tongue convention to it, and instead evokes hydrogen peroxide, a chemical you probably don’t want to drink.
And it didn’t help that that there was an existing Hydrox Chemical Company on the market, one that sold hydrogen peroxide and was caught up in a trademark lawsuit at the time over the use of the word “hydrox”—a lawsuit that noted the term was used for coolers, for soda, even for brands of ice cream.
Even today it sounds, unfortunately, like a detergent or a diet pill, not a delicious cookie. However, as long as Hydrox is willing to commit to refraining from ludicrous and disgusting novelty flavor experiments, I must ally with them, for the sake of the greater culinary good. The enemy of my enemy is my snack.