Oreos, the self-proclaimed “world’s favorite cookie,” actually began as a knock off of another creme-filled delicacy known as Hydrox.
Debuting in 1908 from Sunshine Biscuits, Hydrox cookies were popular among consumers due to their tangy filling and crunchy cookie shell. The name Hydrox was derived from water, as the creators compared the cookie to the qualities of water, being both “purified” and “good.” The name was ill-received, and this led in part to the overwhelming success of the Oreo which was introduced four years later on March 6, 1912. The Oreo went on to become the best selling cookie in the United States. Ironically, many consumers believed Hydrox to be an imitation of the Oreo, when in fact the opposite was true.
What happened to Hydrox?
Hydrox continued to be sold for decades, but never matched the popularity of the Oreo. The cookie and cracker manufacturing company Keebler bought out Sunshine Biscuits in 1996, and replaced Hydrox with a very similarly tasting product called Droxies. Keebler was then purchased by Kellogg’s five years in later in 2001. In 2014, the private self-funded company Leaf Brands obtained the trademark for Hydrox in order to start production of the highly-coveted cookie.
Until April 2015, their website stated to “Look for them in late 2014,” but that later changed to “Early 2015.” As of February 2016, the product’s Facebook page states that production began in August 2015, and that Hydrox would had started arriving in stores. It was said to begin arriving in Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the U.S., in February 2016.
Hydrox responded to our tweet regarding their product back in mid-2015.
— Leaf Brands, LLC (@leafbrandsllc) July 24, 2015
Oreo Cookies Today
Oreo has been going strong for over 100 years, with over 450 billion cookies sold across the globe since they were first introduced. They can be found in more than 100 countries and have several variations including Birthday Cake, Banana Split, and Cool Mint.
The Oreo Cookie was originally developed as an imitation of a cookie known as Hydrox. While Oreo cookies went on to become an iconic American snack, Hydrox – the cookie which inspired it – fell out of favor and was eventually believed by many to be the knockoff product. Hydrox is set to make a comeback in 2016.
Updated February, 2016
Originally published April 2015