Newtons (cookie)

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Two Newtons showing fig filling
Created byCharles Roser[1]
Invented1891; 129 years ago (1891)
Main ingredientsFigs

Newtons, most prominently Fig Newtons, are a Nabisco trademarked version of the fig roll, a pastry (biscuit in the UK) filled with fig paste. They are produced by an extrusion process.[2] Their distinctive shape is a characteristic that has been adopted by competitors, including generic fig bars sold in many markets.

Brand history[edit]

A box of Fig Newtons

Until the late 19th century, many physicians believed that most illnesses were related to digestion problems,[3] 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.[4] Cambridgeport, Massachusetts–based Kennedy Biscuit Company purchased the Roser recipe[5] and started mass production. The first Fig Newtons were baked at the F. A. Kennedy Steam Bakery in 1891.[6] The product was named after the city of Newton, Massachusetts, and contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with Sir Isaac Newton.[7][8]

The Kennedy Biscuit Company had recently become associated with the New York Biscuit Company, and the two merged to form Nabisco—after which, the fig rolls were trademarked as Fig Newtons.[9]

Since 2012, the "Fig" has been dropped from the product name.[10]


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.[11][12] The Fig Newton also is sold in a 100% whole-grain variety and a fat-free variety. Fig Newton Minis have also been introduced.[12] The fig bar is the company's third best-selling product, with sales of more than 700 million bars a year as of 2018.[13] 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.[11]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The snack is referred to by name in the 1961 film The Parent Trap. The scene involves the twin sisters, Susan and Sharon, who have been relegated to a cabin together at sleep-away camp. At one point, Susan offers Sharon a snack with the line, "Wanna Fig Newton?"
  • In Season 3, Episode 10 of the Big Bang Theory "The Gorilla Experiment", which aired on December 7, 2009, Penny asks: "Is that why they're called Fig Newtons?", to which Sheldon replies: "No. Fig Newtons are named after a small town in Massachusetts."


  1. ^ "Fig Newton: History and Invention of the Cookies". Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  2. ^ shemakesitclap (2013-10-25), How It's Made Fig Newton Cookies - Discovery Channel Science, retrieved 2017-02-10
  3. ^ "National Fig Newton Day". CNN. Archived 2014-12-29 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Yvan Lemoine (16 December 2010). FoodFest 365!: The Officially Fun Food Holiday Cookbook. Adams Media. pp. 12–. ISBN 978-1-4405-0619-2. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  5. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2004). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America: A–J. Oxford University Press. p. 319. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  6. ^ Evan Morris (2 November 2004). From Altoids to Zima: the surprising stories behind 125 brand names. Simon and Schuster. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7432-5797-8. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  7. ^ Voorhees, Don (2004). Why Do Donuts Have Holes? Fascinating Facts About What We Eat and Drink. MJF Books. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-56731-734-3. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  8. ^ Moravek, Natalie. "Nabisco". The History of Candy Making in Cambridge. Cambridge Historical Society. Archived from the original on 11 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  9. ^ "The Machine That Made Fig Newtons Possible".
  10. ^ Spiegel, Alison (January 16, 2015). "Fig Newtons No Longer Exist. They're Just Newtons Now". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Andrew Adam Newman (April 30, 2012). "Reminders That a Cookie Goes Beyond the Fig". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  12. ^ a b "Official Fig Newton product listing with nutritional information". Retrieved 2009-10-11.
  13. ^ Have a rootin' tootin' celebration of Fig Newton Day, January 10, 2018, Lisa McCoy , Herald Mail Media
  14. ^ "Talladega Nights: The 10 Funniest Ricky Bobby Quotes". ScreenRant. 2019-03-02. Retrieved 2019-12-04.

External links[edit]