On this last day of March, I wanted to return to a post based on another March holiday, but one I didn’t get to write about at the time: March 6, or National Oreo Cookie Day. That seems like a pretty specific holiday, but Oreos are a classic.
I rarely get desserts, and if I do, I rarely get such a processed and unnatural ingredients product such as Oreos. With that said, I can’t deny they have a guilty pleasure appeal for me. If I buy a bag of Oreos, I’m going to eat a bag of Oreos…and it’s not like I’m only going to eat one a day. So, I rarely buy a bag of Oreos.
However, Oreos came into my radar this month because I was reading about Lady Gaga Oreos. Lady Gaga has a deal with Oreos? I don’t see how Oreos fit with her branding. So I got this package:
Once I got them home and opened them, they didn’t seem any different from regular Oreos. Turns out, that’s because they aren’t. The actual Lady Gaga Oreos were gluten-free and vegan versions of the Golden Oreos, but died pink and green. That has no appeal to me––the only Oreos I want are ones that have the chocolate cookie––but I guess that does sound Lady Gaga-esque. This package had some kind of deal of recording messages of kindness and affirmation and sharing them with friends, or something like that. THAT makes sense for a Lady Gaga connection, I guess.
However, in the process of buying my first package of Oreos in years, I noticed that Oreo varieties have expanded significantly in recent years. So, what’s your guess––how many different Oreo choices did my local regular grocery store, not a superstore of anything, just a Harris Teeter, have? Take a moment to make a guess. I’m talking about the actual Oreo brand, and not including the generic competition chocolate cream cookies that are also stacked on the shelves.
I was shocked at the number of different flavors. For example, this was their special limited-edition release for March, at least in Cary:
Like, who wants that? I don’t even like Strawberry Frosted Donut, let alone made into an Oreo. And not even a chocolate cookie Oreo, which are the only real Oreos in my mind.
I counted them all up, and when everything was said and done, there were thirty-six different varieties of Oreos alone. Thirty Six! Is that not unbelievable? In what universe do we actually need thirty-six choices of Oreos. Now, this is not to say that they had thirty-six different flavors. A lot of the varieties were available in thin, regular, and double-stuffed format, coated in chocolate or not, or different package sizes.
Here is the hilarious thing. While I was doing this research, an elderly man shuffled over. “Are you looking for the Pistachio Oreos? Don’t bother, they don’t make them any more. That’s a shame. Those were my favorites.” He looked so downcast that I felt like I should share my sympathies for his loss.
Still, there were thirty-six choices, and he wanted a thirty-seventh one. Actually, when doing some research on National Oreo Day, I discovered they had entire lines of Oreos that weren’t included on our shelves…Oreo Brownies and Oreo Cakesters and Oreo Creams and Oreo Sports Lines and on and on.
The whole thing made me feel a little sick, once I started to think about it all. There are so many places where people don’t even have access to clean running water and where children are starving. Do we really need to give our children so many choices of Oreos? (I’m assuming the only people who would want to eat pink artificially-dyed cream with glitter that tastes like strawberry donuts would be children…but maybe that is an incorrect assumption.)
So I did buy that package of Oreos, and my family and I did eat them. And boy, they did taste good. The cooking site Serious Eats did a blind taste test comparing Oreos and other knock-off brands to the “health” versions from Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Paul Newman, etc., and the classic Oreos won the #1 spot (click here for that article).
But I’m sorry, Lady Gaga. I won’t be buying them again for a long time. Looking at all these Oreos, I couldn’t help but think of the adage, “Live simply so others can simply live.” There must be better uses of the resources of our world than coming up with dozens and dozens and dozens of different flavors of Oreos.
We in the US need to stop hogging so much of the world’s resources to allow people in underdeveloped nations to live better lives. Surely limiting the number of different Oreos being manufactured and marketed could be a place to start.