Posted by Shirley Brady on January 27, 2012 02:02 PM
North Americans may grow up loving Oreo cookies, so Kraft was dismayed when Chinese consumers didn't take to the iconic cream-filled biscuit and sales in the market proved disappointing.
Rather than pull the product, Kraft decided to study the problem. Lorna Davis, head of the global biscuit division at Kraft, tells NPR that market research showed locals liked the contrast between the bitter cookie and the sugary cream, but "they said it was a little bit too sweet and a little bit too bitter."
The solution: Kraft retooled the Oreo for China, making the cookie "more chocolatey" and the cream filling "less cloying." Kraft's China division is also experimenting with new fillings such as green tea, "double fruit magic," ice-cream flavor, mini versions promoted by Yao Ming, and an orange-hued cream with shades of mango (watch some of the brand's China spots below).
Kraft is even going so far as to dispense with its traditional round cookie with a Pocky-like straw-shaped wafer. The upshot of its willingness to reinvent the brand to local tastes: by 2006 it was the best-selling cookie in China. Click here to listen to NPR's report.