Newtons (cookie)

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Two Newtons showing fig filling

Newtons are a Nabisco trademarked version of the fig roll, a pastry filled with fig paste. Their distinctive shape is a characteristic that has been adopted by many competitors including generic fig bars sold in many markets. They are produced by an extrusion process.

Brand history[edit]

A box of Fig Newtons

Until the late 19th century, many physicians believed that most illnesses were related to digestion problems,[1] and recommended a daily intake of biscuits and fruit. Fig rolls were the ideal solution to this advice, although they remained a locally produced and handmade product. A Philadelphia baker and fig lover Charles Roser in 1891 invented and then patented a machine which inserted fig paste into a thick pastry dough.[2] Cambridgeport, Massachusetts–based Kennedy Biscuit Company purchased the Roser recipe[3] and started mass production. The first Fig Newtons were baked at the F. A. Kennedy Steam Bakery in 1891.[4] The product was named "Newton" after the city of Newton, Massachusetts.[5][6]

The Kennedy Biscuit Company had recently become associated with the New York Biscuit Company, and after the companies' merger to form Nabisco, the fig rolls were trademarked as "Fig Newtons."[7]


As of 2012, in addition to the original fig filling, Nabisco also makes several varieties of the Newton, including apple cinnamon, strawberry, raspberry, and mixed berry.[8][9] The Fig Newton also is sold in a 100% whole-grain variety and a fat-free variety.[9] Fig Newton Minis have also been introduced.[9] The fig bar is the company's third best-selling product, with sales of more than a billion bars a year.[citation needed] In 2011, a crisp cookie, Newtons Fruit Thins, was introduced in the United States after being successfully marketed by Kraft in Canada as Lifestyle Selections, a variety of Peek Freans.[8]


In the 1970s, Nabisco ran an advertising campaign for the Fig Newton. The commercials featured actor James (Jimmy) Harder dressed like a fig. 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.[10]

About $14.8 million were spent advertising Newtons in 2011. Advertisements are generally based on nostalgia and directed to baby boomers rather than children.[8]

Since 2012, the "Fig" has been dropped from the product name.[11]


  1. ^
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Andrew F. Smith (2004). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America: A–J. Oxford University Press. p. 319. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Don Voorhees (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. 
  6. ^ Moravek, Natalie. "Nabisco". The History of Candy Making in Cambridge. The Cambridge Historical Society. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  7. ^ A machine invented in 1891 made the mass production of Fig Newtons possible.
  8. ^ a b c Andrew Adam Newman (April 30, 2012). "Reminders That a Cookie Goes Beyond the Fig". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Official Fig Newton product listing with nutritional information". Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  10. ^ "1970s Fig Newton Commercial". Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  11. ^ Spiegel, Alison (January 16, 2015). "Fig Newtons No Longer Exist. They're Just Newtons Now.". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 16, 2015. 

External links[edit]