“Oreo-Buster” Hydrox Woos With Real Sugar—and Donald Trump

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Talk about taking advantage of a moment: Hydrox is showing that it isn’t afraid to immerse the brand deeply in politics, even controversial politics, to strike a blow against rival Oreo. And it isn’t afraid to twist the Biggest Cookie Brand in the World, either.

After hearing Donald Trump’s speech in which he vowed to boycott Oreos because Mondelez is moving much of its US production of the iconic cookie to Mexico, Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Hydrox-maker Leaf Brands, extended an invitation to the firebrand, controversial GOP presidential candidate to visit the Hydrox plant outside Los Angeles.

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Hydrox’s claim to fame is summarized on its new packaging (“America’s original creme-filled cookie”) and on Wikipedia: “Hydrox is the brand name for a creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookie that debuted in 1908 and was manufactured by Sunshine (later Sunshine Biscuits). The similar Oreo cookie—introduced later, in 1912—was inspired by the Hydrox, yet Hydrox was perceived as the knockoff. Compared to Oreos, Hydrox cookies have a tangy, less-sweet filling and a crunchier cookie that gets less soggy in milk.”

After buying the Hydrox brand last year, Leaf has restored its original formula using real sugar and high-quality cocoa, the company said in a press release. Oreo, Kassoff alleges, uses high-fructose corn syrup “and other low-quality ingredients because they’re all about increasing margins, even if it means moving to Mexico.”

The reborn Hydrox cookie will be sold on Amazon, but Leaf says that “many of the major (US) national and local supermarket and chain stores” have “clamored” to bring back the brand.

But why involve the Donald? “We want consumers to know ‘the original sandwich cookie’ will always be made in the US, and Mr. Trump’s campaign focuses on growing American jobs, so we decided to invite him to our plant,” Kassoff said.

But, anticipating potential objections, he added: “We are in no way picking candidates or jumping into politics but we want to showcase how a company can create a high-quality product at a good price, without moving operations out of the US.”

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at the meeting where that decision was made.

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