Hydrox is the brand name for the creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookie manufactured by Leaf Brands. It debuted in 1908, was originally manufactured by Sunshine (later Sunshine Biscuits) and was sold for over ninety years. The similar Oreo cookie, introduced later, in 1912, was inspired by the Hydrox, however the Oreo eventually exceeded it in popularity which resulted in the Hydrox coming to be perceived as a knockoff. The Hydrox was largely discontinued in 1999 after Sunshine was acquired by Keebler, who would later be acquired by Kellogg's. In September 2015 the product was re-introduced by Leaf Brands. Compared to Oreos, Hydrox cookies have a tangy, less-sweet filling and a crunchier cookie that gets less soggy in milk.
Hydrox derived its name from the atoms comprising water. In 1908, the creators of the cookie were looking for a name that would convey "purity and goodness." Since water is known for those qualities, they developed the name from the elements making up a water molecule. Market research later determined that the name was not well received and was more evocative of cleaning solutions than cookies.
Sunshine Biscuits was purchased by Keebler in 1996, and in 1999, Keebler replaced Hydrox with a similar but reformulated product named Droxies. Keebler was later acquired by Kellogg's in 2001. Kellogg's removed Droxies from the market in 2003. Kellogg's marketed a chocolate sandwich cookie under the Famous Amos brand, along with sandwich cookies of other flavors, but has since discontinued the line. Kellogg's says the Hydrox recipe is unique.
On the cookie's 100th anniversary, Kellogg's resumed distribution of Hydrox under the Sunshine label, with the first batches shipped in late August 2008. Hydrox aficionados had bombarded Kellogg's with thousands of phone calls and an on-line petition asking that production resume. The recipe was slightly altered from the original; trans-fats were removed. The cookies were to be available nationally for a limited time, and less than a year later Kellogg's had removed Hydrox from their web site.
The Carvel ice-cream franchise sold ice-cream goods manufactured with "Hydrox" cookie crumbs until 2012. Carvel used the cookies' all-kosher status as a selling point as the original Oreo recipe used lard. The cookies were not specifically mentioned by name on the Carvel website, but they were identified as hydrox (lower-case 'h') on the in-store posters. Carvel currently uses Oreo cookies in its ice cream goods.
In 2014, Leaf Brands, the company which brought back Astro Pops and Tart n Tinys, acquired the trademark to Hydrox Cookies. Leaf Brands plans on keeping the original flavor and familiar 'crunch' that consumers came to love about the Hydrox. The new Hydrox cookie will be available in most supermarket chains as well as in specialty stores. Leaf Brands began production of Hydrox cookies on 4 September 2015 at the company’s facility in Vernon, Calif.
- Eber, H. (February 26, 2012). "The Big O: The Chelsea-born Oreo cookie celebrates its 100th birthday". New York Post. pp. 44–45.
- Paul Lukas (15 March 1999). "Oreos to Hydrox: Resistance Is Futile". Fortune. Retrieved 2009-11-29.
- Christopher Rhoads (19 January 2008). "The Hydrox Cookie Is Dead, and Fans Won't Get Over It". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-29.
- Christopher Rhoads (28 May 2008). "Hydrox Redux: Cookie Duels Oreo, Again". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-29.
- Carvel web site
- Bruce Horovitz (11 May 2014). "Hydrox cookies bake plans for comeback". USA Today. Retrieved 2015-04-28.
- Schroeder, Eric (4 September 2015). "Leaf Brands begins production of Hydrox cookies". Food Business News. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
Leaf Brands L.L.C. officially relaunched Hydrox cookies on Sept. 4 with the onset of production at the company’s facility in Vernon, Calif.
- Hydrox Website
- Hydrox Cookies on Facebook
- Hydrox Cookie fan page (2010)
- CHRISTOPHER RHOADS: Hydrox Redux: Cookie Duels Oreo, Again - WSJ May 28, 2008