Oreo in China: Not Round, Not Sweet!

Quick: what image comes to mind when I say "Oreo"? The sweet round cookie with a creamy center that you dunk in milk?

Apparently, that's not the image that comes to mind in China: The iconic cookie is a long, think thick, four-layered water wafer coated in chocolate... and it's not so sweet. Here's why:

Oreos were first introduced in 1912 in the U.S., but it wasn't until 1996 that Kraft introduced Oreos to Chinese consumers. Nine years later, a makeover began. Shawn Warren, a 37-year-old Kraft veteran who had spent many years marketing the company's cookies and crackers around the world, arrived in Asia in 2005 and noticed that Oreo's China sales had been flat for the previous five years.

Back then, Kraft was selling the U.S. version of Oreos in China. Albert Einstein's definition of insanity -- doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results -- "characterized what we were doing," says Mr. Warren, vice president of marketing for Kraft Foods International. [...]

Mr. Warren assigned his team to a lengthy research project that yielded some interesting findings. For one thing, Kraft learned that
traditional Oreos were too sweet for Chinese tastes.

Here's an interesting article by Julie Jargon of The Wall Street Journal on how food giant Kraft finally got nimble by trusting local managers: Link - via Beyond Madison Avenue

I have to say that the US has one of the most "single note" palettes I have ever encountered.

From soft drinks to bread, mayo to mustard everything is sickly sweet.

I once went to a Thanksgiving dinner that a couple of expat New Yorker/Jerseyers had.

Of the people at the table, who were variously french, german, georgian, scots and irish, not a one of us managed to make any inroads on our plates.

It was like sitting down for a dinner prepared by Wlly Wonka.
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To appease the Red Chinese palate, they've got a little lead paint, ground dywall, and melamine residue mixed in. Works like a charm.

Pol x - I have to wonder about what kind of Thanksgiving meal you had... The desserts are possibly sweet to be sure, but not typically the main course: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, greens, &c. Even cranberry sauce, a typical side dish in the main part of the meal is usually rather tart.
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Sounds like a rational marketing strategy to me: Introduce your flagship item into a new market. Push it hard and long until you find the saturation point. Create a series of "brand stretching" items that are close, but more tuned to local tastes. Once you discover the heir apparent, push it hard and long until you find the ...
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I totally agree with Pol X. I live in America but still everything has to be sweet. I do mean EVERYTHING. I mean they even make profilatics that are sweet for goodness sakes!! No womder I live in a country where OBESITY is called an epidemic.

In any case I can't imagnie an oreo that is not sweet. At least I would be willing to try it.
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You can get the regular oreos in China still, but again they're not as sweet. I used to buy a massive pack every Friday after classes and the cahier would always give me the weirdest look. Those square ones are good too though. My roomate and I went thru a box in a couple of hours when we first found them.
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Sid Morrison

As far as I know it was just your standard Thanksgiving.

But it seems that mashed potato was sweet, the mashed sweet potatos were under what turned out to be brown sugar the supposedly tart cranberry sausce had been sweetened to the point of inducing diabetes.

Just every single thing was sweet.


Sorry if you felt I was doign you down, I was really just amazed and a little appalled.

but then, I'm a Scot so there's probably a lot of my homes cuisine which would cause comment...hell probably gagging too.
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wanna know why everything is so sweet?

"high frusctose corn syrup" and "hydrogenated oil"

you know why they're used? because they're cheaper than sugar and real corn syrup. these two preservatives have only been used in the last two decades, and obesity/type 2 diabetes/heart disease rates have gone up in the last two decades as well.. coincidence? i think not.

other countries do not use these preservatives because frankly, they're too sweet. also, other lands aren't as spread out as ours so they don't really need an extensive use of such preservatives. the high-fructose corn syrup is used to replace sugar. they concentrate the fructose, which gives you more sweetness in a smaller amount of space. also, it's more fake because it has gone through a process to make foods last longer. truthfully, food is not supposed to last longer than nature intended. sams club, meijer, and wal-mart don't help because they sell almost everything in bulk, and the only way they can do that is by bulking foods that can be in storage for long periods of time. but people buy in bulk because it's cheaper. catching on?

hydrogenated oils are used as a preservative and a flavor enhancer. you might say that it replaced MSG. these oils make food taste sweeter and richer. they are also what we call 'trans fats' and we all know the troubles with those (remember McD's said they no longer cook fries in trans-fat? that does not mean the rest of their food isn't caked with it). they're artificial and incredibly bad for you. trans-fats are actually banned in countries because of their health risks. which brings me to what i thought about first when you said "oreos" at the top: oreos are illegal in canada! fun fact of the day.

the reason these are so bad is because they're in EVERYTHING. believe me.. read any food label and you WILL find one or both. always. unless you shop organic and/or all natural. trans fats do not pass the natural/organic code.
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i know i've already written so much and you guys are bored with my crap.. sorry.. that's the freedom of the internet. anyways-- i just wanted to give reasons why, exactly, these are harmful to your health:

high-fructose corn syrup: your body in its natural state was made to process natural sugars. when you introduce fake sugars, your body has to work harder to try and process them. you're forcing your body to translate a foreign language without a dictionary, and i think everyone can relate to that. we know how hard normal life can be when you get older, as your bones become more brittle and you can't process a piece of fruit the way you should, these inconsistencies can overhaul your body and shut down important processes that are supposed to occur. in this case, because you've been tampering with your blood sugar for so long, your pancreas will slow its insulin process and eventually cause such ailments as hypoglycemia and diabetes.

hydrogenated/hydrolized oils: these are bad because they create false images and you can't digest them. they create false images because they replace real flavors. notice that all the little debbie cakes all taste relatively the same? you can taste these oils in your food, if you are able to differentiate between trans-fat and non-trans-fat foods, because it leaves a film on the roof of your mouth. kinda like after you eat a bowl of fruity-pebbles, there's that gross layer of >ick< all over your mouth and on top of your milk? think of it this way- that film is coating your insides and they aren't going away. you may argue 'yea, but the film goes away after a little bit.' this may be, but your insides don't get the same amount of attention that your mouth does. you're constantly rinsing, swishing, tonguing, and picking at your teeth, while your insides just sith there, absorbing everything you put in it. while all this builds up, your body isn't as capable of absorbing what nutrients you need, and you get blockages. hence the rise in colonoscopy awareness, heart disease, and obesity. oh yea- it's addictive too, and it's in (i would say.. don't quote me on this one) 95% of the commercial food we buy. there aren't any studies about any of this because these two "baddies" have only been used in the last couple decades, and it's impossible to have a long term study on something that has only been used for a couple years. but i digress.. and leave you all the better things to read. be good! buy smart! and read your labels!
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