Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Oreo Scandal

Fox News reports that Double Stuf Oreos don't have double the Stuf inside.

I'm shocked. I'm stunned. I'm in denial. And, I'm kinda hungry for an Oreo.

We used to make double stuff Oreos when I was a child. Note that I said "double stuff" and not "Double Stuf." There's a reason for that. We'd take the Oreo cookies apart -- a little gentle-yet-firm twist -- and, if we did it right, one side had all the stuff on it, while the other side was mostly clean cooke. Then, we'd do it again with another Oreo cookie. We then had two halves with stuff on them, and two plain chocolate cookies. We'd take the two halves that had all the stuff on them and put them together to get double stuff Oreos.

Now, if the separation went wrong, you couldn't use that Oreo. You had to eat it. I mean, they're Oreos. They can't go to waste (although, these days, they do go to waist ... and hips ... and belly). Eating a regular Oreo was punishment for not getting it right. Which isn't a bad punishment, but it's not the reward of eating an Oreo with double the stuff inside.

We tried this with Hydrox cookies, too, but I don't remember how well that went. We preferred Oreo to Hydrox, even though Oreo was a knock-off of Hydrox. Really. Betcha though it was the other way around, didn't you. Well, now you know better, and are smarter for it.

Anyway, about the double stuff ... stuff. In 1974, Nabisco finally caught up with the rest of us and introduced Double Stuf Oreo cookies. They left out an "f" in the name, in case you didn't notice. Was that a subtle hint that Double Stuf wasn't actually double the stuff?

Well, fast-forward to 2013 and a classroom in Queensbury, NY. Dan Anderson, a math teacher as Queensbury High, had his class perform experiments to see if there was really double the stuff inside the Double Stuf Oreos. They concluded that they contain 1.86 times the stuff, not double.

A spokeswoman for Oreo says "I can confirm for you that our recipe for the Oreo Double Stuf Cookie has double the Stuf, or creme filling, when compared with our base, or original Oreo cookie."

Who to believe?

The joy I felt in 1974 when Double Stuf was released is now called into question. Were we lied to?

Or, did the math class get it wrong?

Let's look at their methodology. They weighed 10 regular Oreos. They weighed 20 plain cookies from the Oreos. They weighed 10 Double Stuf Oreos.

They took the weight of the 10 Oreos, subtracted the weight of the 20 plain cookies, and got the weight of the stuff.

Then, they took the weight of the 10 Double Stuff Oreos, subtracted the weight of the 20 plain cookies, and got the weight of the stuff.

And that's how they determined the Double Stuf was actually the One-Point-Eight-Six Stuf.

But, is the experiment valid?

Ever took an Oreo apart? Hard to get all of the stuff off, isn't it. The flat side of an Oreo cooke isn't smooth. If it was, the stuff wouldn't stick. That's Science! The cookie is rough (slightly, but enough) so the creme filling will stick. If they don't get it all out, that makes the weight a little bit off, skewing the results slightly.

What about crumbs? Ever eat a whole bag of Oreos? Ever look in the bag after the last Oreo has been devoured? Know what you'll find? Crumbs. If the 10 Double Stuff Oreos had more cookie missing (more crumbs) than the 10 regular Oeos, that'll skew the results slightly.

Yeah, maybe I'm grasping at straws here, trying to keep one part of my childhood fantasy alive: that Oreos were good and wonderful things that would never lie to us.

There's only one way to get to the bottom of this. We're going to have to repeat the experiment. Many times, possibly. And, of course, eat the Oreos when we're done.

This isn't a job for Mythbusters. It's a job for you. Go forth and ... Science!

Or Math!

Or... Oreos!


  1. This just proves that Double Stuf Oreos are not quite up to the "Double your pleasure! Double your fun!" standard expected of chewy, minty sweets. But they certainly are more accessible than Miss Anony's "Two! Two Mints In One!" confections that get handed out like rare door prizes. And, as you point out, Basil, one can do Science! on them!

    BTW, have you seen my car keys?

  2. They're probably right, but the sample size is too small. Plus they probably used a Stuf-scraping method that took off just a few crumbs of cookie, enough to influence the outcome.

    One thing I can promise is that I am roughly 1.86 times the stuf I used to be. Just ask my scale.

  3. A story about OREO COOKIES on Fox Faux 'News'?

    Clearly racist!

    Don't read them me .

  4. Oreo arithmetic is brought to you by the people who shrunk chocolate bars to the size of my pinkie. And I guess by the folks who make Ikea furniture, too. However, if we were all 7% smaller than standard size, I suppose things would seem less crowded. Cats would become a serious threat, though.

  5. Not a very good test, if you ask me. They used a very small sample size, and one one measurement. You'd need at least a whole bag of each kind of Oreo; taking not only their individual mass but the volume too (Either by linear measurements or displacement.)

    To be thorough, you'd want to do this for whole cookies and cookies w/o stuff. If possible, take measurements of the filling too, but that can get messy - especially with volume measurements.

  6. There’s only one way to get to the bottom of this. We’re going to have to repeat the experiment. Many times, possibly. And, of course, eat the Oreos when we’re done.

    I am prepared to make this sacrifice for Science! Unto the breach, dear friends!


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