How the Oreo Became the Biggest Selling Cookie in China

published Jan 30, 2012
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

When Kraft Foods brought Oreo cookies to China in 1996, everyone expected the iconic black and white cookie to succeed, but sales were mediocre. So the company made a surprising decision, one that has made Oreos the number-one selling cookie in China today.

Kraft started by playing around with the cookie’s design and flavor, releasing cookies shaped like wafers or straws, and filled with tea-flavored cream tinted green or bright orange-mango filling. With no nostalgia for Oreos, consumers wouldn’t be bothered by tweaks to the original.

But this lack of nostalgia was also a problem; the appeal of eating an Oreo is due in part to the tactile experience, says Kraft.

You pry it apart, scrape out the filling with your teeth and plop it into a glass of milk. Their shorthand for the concept: “Twist, Lick, Dunk.” All the wild new shapes and flavors of Oreo wouldn’t work in China, unless they could somehow share that same experience.

So they released a series of heart-tugging TV ads featuring cute children teaching adults how to twist, lick and dunk their cookies. Sales doubled, and doubled again. Oreo nostalgia is alive and well in China, along with those unfamiliar straw-shaped and green-tea-flavored Oreos.

Read the full story: Rethinking The Oreo For Chinese Consumers at NPR

Would you want to try a redesigned Oreo or are you true to the original?


The Cookie Designers: Oreo Cookies and Architecture

(Image: Kraft Foods)