The best-selling cookie in the United States is Oreo by a wide margin, racking up nearly $700 million in sales for Nabisco in 2017.
But the cookie is far from healthy, as most consumers know, and the issue is made worse by the fact that it contains GMO ingredients and has even tested positive for concerning amounts of the controversial Monsanto chemical glyphosate.
Now, however, Oreo’s biggest rival has officially gone non-GMO, and it could help lead to much-needed changes within the industry in due time.
Oreo Rival Hydrox Official to Goes Non-GMO
Number one Oreo competitor Hydrox, known for its similar looks and long history on American store shelves, announced in 2017 that it was planning to ditch GMO ingredients, and would begin using new labels in order to celebrate the momentous occasion.
On March 14 of this year, the company officially received its non-GMO certification status, becoming the first national sandwich cookie brand to do so.
“I’m excited and proud to beat Oreo® the punch since customers are asking for ‘clean labeling’ in their foods and we don’t believe the Oreo® brand will increase their costs by using the high quality ingredients we’re using.” Ellia Kassoff said to the Leaf Brands company.
Recently, the company decided to remove artificial flavors from its popular sandwich cookies, and added on July 8 that it is now vegan as well.
We are happy to announce that Hydrox is now officially vegan certified. After we acquired Hydrox in 2015, we rolled back the formula, geting rid of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and GMOs in order to make Hydrox a "cleaner label", non-GMO, and kosher #vegan pic.twitter.com/tG1cmP1NV4
— Hydrox Cookie (@HydroxCookie) July 8, 2021
Hydrox has been around since 1908, and while it doesn’t make the top 10 list of best-selling cookies in the U.S., it is well known among people who have eaten it before and noticed its similar taste to the aforementioned best-selling Nabisco brand.
While Oreo is far more popular, the Hydrox sandwich cookie actually pre-dates it: Oreo officially made its debut four years later in 1912.
Now the company is hoping to cut into Oreo and other cookies’ market shares by offering a non-GMO product at a time when sales of foods in this category are sharply rising.
“Many of the largest ice cream manufacturers, bakeries and candy makers in the U.S. have approached us to replace their current cookie with our non-GMO, ‘clean label’ Hydrox, and we see this as a growing trend in the market,” said Garvey Daniels, VP of Sales for Leaf Brands, in a press release.
“While Mondelez is focused on lowering costs with Oreo, our focus is on making a superior cookie and it’s paying off. We see this reflected in our growing requests for crushed Hydrox within the foodservice and Industrial segments. Next up in the pipeline are mini Hydrox cookies which we expect to hit stores in 2018,” Daniels continued.
Hydrox also became the #1 new sandwich cookie on Amazon.com in December 2017 after the company started selling its new version, showing the power of going clean and ditching Monsanto ingredients (although the hope is that they will still go organic sometime in the future).
Sales have been so brisk that the cookie is now sold out on Amazon.
The company is also now selling a Crushed Cookie, Non-GMO Base Cake as well, which is still available on the aforementioned e-commerce site, and announced that its products would be sold as a natural alternative to Oreos at Cracker Barrel stores nationwide this past April.
You can now find Hydrox at all @CrackerBarrel stores nationwide. @leafbrandsllc is very excited to partner with Cracker barrel to bring you the original sandwich cookie free of any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. #madeintheusa #theoriginalsandwichcookie #nongmo pic.twitter.com/wGKJUNMjPK
— Hydrox Cookie (@HydroxCookie) April 7, 2021
Sales of Hydrox rose by 40% in 2017 according to Quality Assurance & Food Safety‘s website.
“The new Hydrox® cookie is exactly the way customers remember it, circa 1908 to 1999, with its dark chocolate flavor, crispier cookie crunch, and less sweet character that made Hydrox famous,” the company’s press release states. “Hydrox is made with REAL cane sugar and without any hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors or colors.”
Whether or not the new non-GMO distinction can put a dent in Oreo’s massive market share remains to be seen, but if sales continue their upward trend you can be sure that the Nabisco giant will take notice.
Oreo has been struggling from negative press after its cookies tested positive for glyphosate at levels of 289.47 ppb according to one measurement. Just .1 ppb is capable of causing harm to human health.
Hydrox may also contain glyphosate residues as it is not organic, however the switch to non-GMO is fairly rare in the packaged food industry and could help lead to changes if the company remains successful.
If you’re looking for an organic, non-GMO variety, you may want to check out Newman’s Own organic or similar certified organic products instead.