Cookie Prison


By Dean L. Jones, C.P.M.

This past Tuesday was the 100th anniversary of the Oreo cookie.  Now owned by Kraft Foods the Oreo has been around since 1912, and has generated thousands of other sugary cookie competitors over the past century.  Last year alone, over $2 billion worth of Oreos were sold worldwide, which represents more than 70 million Oreos sold each day.

Some people are obsessed with snacking on cookies, which are closely gaining on out selling cakes. Without question, this trend probably stems from its convenience as cookies are small and portable, making it oh so easy to grab quickly.   That quick grab totaled more than $60 billion in sales last year for just cookies.

Unfortunately, regularly eating items like these little cookies may be one reason why roughly 20% of people enlisting into the US military are rejected solely for being overweight.  The evidence is mounting that processed sugar is the primary factor causing not just obesity, but also many chronic and lethal diseases.  Processed sugar is studied by scientists who are more and more relating the negative health effects of processed sugar consumption being as dangerous as tobacco and alcohol.

The cookie makers know that their products contribute to obesity and in view of that have introduced products that are sold as organic cookies in order to think that they are healthier to eat.  Cookie makers are giving alternatives such as cholesterol-free, diet, fat-free, flax, soy, gluten-free, healthy, juice-sweetened, lite, low carb, zero grams trans-fat, low fat, low sodium, low sugar, no salt added, no sugar added, spelt, sugar-free, and whole grain.  These advertised claims probably move toward being healthier than a regular sugary-filled cookie; however, these alternative ingredients still represent junk food making them nearly impossible to actually be truly healthy.  Whole fruits are healthy, where a packaged manufactured item will never replace nature.

Consumers of pastries need to be alert on how cookie makers make it seem like their products are something to have every day.  The healthier sandwich people at Subway make it seem like a chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or peanut butter cookie is part of a daily diet.  After ordering your sandwich with fresh produce at the cash registered you are faced with making a choice of cookies.  That is a strange way to help someone to eat better.

One has to work hard to escape the cookie madness, where a lot of companies are in the game.  Stay sugar alert, by watching out for those cookies loading in M&M’s, those cake icing numbers and cookie sandwiched marshmallows.  There is definitely no need to eat those over-sized 6” to 12” diameter cookies.  And definitely, minimize your eating of those pocket sized mini-cookies that are so bite-sized you can easily find yourself serving a fat life sentence in what I call cookie prison.

Mr. Jones is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), sharing his view on mismanagement practices of packaged foods & beverages.