|Created by||Charles Roser|
Newtons, most prominently fig newtons, are a Nabisco trademarked version of the fig roll, a cookie filled with fig paste. They are produced by an extrusion process. Their distinctive shape is a characteristic that has been adopted by competitors, including generic fig bars sold in many markets.
Until the late 19th century, many physicians believed that most illnesses were related to digestion problems, and recommended a daily intake of biscuits and fruit. Fig rolls were the ideal solution to this advice. They were a locally produced and handmade product until a Philadelphia baker and fig lover, Charles Roser, invented and then patented a machine in 1891 which inserted fig paste into a thick pastry dough. Cambridgeport, Massachusetts–based Kennedy Biscuit Company purchased the Roser recipe and started mass production. The first Fig Newtons were baked at the F. A. Kennedy Steam Bakery in 1891. The product was named after the city of Newton, Massachusetts, and contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with Sir Isaac Newton.
As of 2012, Nabisco makes several varieties of the Newton, which, in addition to the original fig filling, include versions filled with apple cinnamon, strawberry, raspberry, and mixed berry. The Fig Newton also is sold in a 100% whole-grain variety and a fat-free variety. Fig Newton Minis have also been introduced. The fig bar is the company's third best-selling product, with sales of more than a billion bars a year. In 2011, a crisp cookie was introduced in the United States named Newtons Fruit Thins, after being successfully marketed by Kraft in Canada as Lifestyle Selections, a variety of Peek Freans.
In the 1970s, Nabisco ran a popular advertising campaign for the Fig Newton. The TV commercials featured actor James (Jimmy) Harder as "Big Fig", dressed in a fig suit, who sings a song in praise of Fig Newtons. At the conclusion of the song, he struck the "Fig Newton Pose", leaning forward and balancing on his left foot, with arms spread and right leg raised behind him.
Since 2012, the "Fig" has been dropped from the product name.
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