Commentary

Oreo Has The Right Stuf (If Maybe Not Enough Of It)

Oreo’s Double “The Double Stuf Oreo May Be Missing Some Stuf,” reads the hed on the story by Time’s Alexander Aciman. “Scandal ensues” is the arch subhed.

I, too, was shocked, shocked, to find that Mr. [Dan] Anderson’s math class at Glens Falls High School in upstate New York had discovered that some Double Stuf Oreos they weighed only had 1.86 times the filling of the regular version and the Mega, weighing in at 9.69 grams, isn’t quite three times as large as the original, which weighed 3.61 grams. 

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For the record, Kimberley Fontes of Mondelez Global tells Fox News’ Shepard Smith: “While I’m not familiar with what was done in the classroom setting, I can confirm for you that our recipe for the Oreo Double Stuf Cookie has double the Stuf, or creme filling, when compared with our base, or original Oreo cookie.” 

I am such a devotee of Oreos that in my youth I could scarf down a dozen Oreos with a tall glass of whole milk in five minutes or less. Let me do a quick calculation here -– hmmm, that’s about one-sixtieth of the almost five hours it would take me to burn off all those calories ingested (1,040 calories for 12 cookies and 204 for the 12 ounces of milk) by walking briskly (259 calories expended hourly at 3.5 mph). 

Given that predilection to overindulge, nowadays I limit myself to whatever I can cadge from other people’s stashes before feeling like a mooch. And I continue to follow the evolution of this once-simple concoction with an academician’s tenacity, never missing an opportunity to sample a new flavor or size. There’s a cornucopia of sizes and flavor tweaks and line extensions out there, from Golden Mini Bite Size Go-Paks to Fudge Cremes Coconut Delight to Chocolate Ice Cream Cones. Not to mention the greatest thing to ever happen to a dish of vanilla ice cream.

This scandal du jour is not on the level of discovering that Wonder Bread perhaps didn’t really “Help Build Strong Bodies in 12 Ways,” as the Federal Trade Commission famously found in 1971 -- at least any more than any other fortified bread did -- but it plays to the fears of skeptical consumers nonetheless. Remember the Subway foot-long saga?

You may not, however, remember that an FTC judge eventually ruled for Wonder Bread and against the commission on almost all counts back then, perhaps saving, as Ad Age publisher Rance Crain recounted last year, the very skin of brand positioning itself. (But Wonder Bread, for its part, couldn’t leave well enough alone, having one “Professor Wonder” claim that its “added calcium could improve children’s brain function and memory.”)

The Glens Falls Post Star’s Michael Goot tracked down the history of the current exposé all the way from teacher Anderson posting the results of the classroom experiment to his “A Recursive Process” math blog in March to an enterprising reporter from Huffington Post, Rachel Tepper, getting the scoop last Friday and then its gathering acceleration in mainstream and social media up to, but not including, its appearance here. 

After Smith’s tongue-in-cheek interview with Anderson aired on Fox, Goot recounts, “CNN came calling next, followed by the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom and the New York Post.” (Gasp! The Postan also-ran on such a hot story?)

“It’s been crazy. It’s been really bizarre,” Anderson tells him.

Welcome to the media frenzy. Much of the commentary seems to be forgiving of Oreo, however. Observes one commenter on Anderson’s blog: “I guess Nabisco kind of implied there’d be less “Stuff” by spelling it “Stuf.”

Whatever, this little to-do is unlikely to be an iceberg in the way of a smooth-sailing juggernaut. The first Oreo cookie was sold in Hoboken, N.J., “the year the South Pole was discovered and the Titanic sunk,” according to a fact sheet put together for its centennial last year. 

Sales were up 6% in the U.S. and 20% in developing markets last year thanks to “innovation and some of the most creative marketing in the business to keep Oreo fresh and relevant,” according to Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Nabisco parent Mondelez International. But she’s hardly satisfied with its $2 billion in annual revenue, feeling its many iterations could do twice that amount all over the globe.

Anderson says that variations in the density of the filling may be the reason that his students’ calculations and Nabisco’s claims don’t jibe and tells Goot that a science teacher will measure that this fall. Meanwhile, the way I look at it, and as much as I love it, the Double Stuf is already at least 1.86 times more than I should be indulging in. 

It’s getting so hard to be a junkfoodie on so many levels these days, isn’t it? What will they reveal next? That the peanuts in M&M Peanuts are really nuts and not legumes?

3 comments about "Oreo Has The Right Stuf (If Maybe Not Enough Of It)".
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  1. Guy Powell from ProRelevant Marketing Solutions, August 23, 2013 at 8:21 a.m.

    Thom,

    Only a dozen? I could scarf down the whole package. then look for more of the vanilla variety, along with about 3 large glasses of milk - all in preparation to eat some pizza.

    It sounds like an incredible PR opportunity for Oreo and that is to enlist hundreds of schools around the country to weigh the amount of stuf in the Double Stuf's.

    Ya gotta love Oreo's.

  2. Thom Forbes from T.H. Forbes Co., August 23, 2013 at 8:33 a.m.

    Yeah, well, I initially said two dozen but I thought that would sound over-the-top. And I'm with you on the pizza, too. But that was after playing outside for 3 or 4 hours nonstop, right?

  3. Guy Powell from ProRelevant Marketing Solutions, August 23, 2013 at 8:47 a.m.

    Thom,

    Yep, that was when I weighed 172 lbs. and could play basketball for 4 hours straight and then party hardy.

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