I recently commented on Simon Reynold’s excellent book Retromania and how it aptly explains current stagnation in music, the visual arts, and fashion. Retromania, also affects consumer behavior in the grocery store. Particularly in times of upheaval and uncertainty people turn to processed comfort foods popular in earlier decades. For example grocery stores in the United States saw a marked increase in the sale of Lucky Charms and Little Debbies in the early phases of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Repackaging products and flavors that people know and like is also good business for manufacturers as it reduces the risk of releasing a dud product. That a ridiculous 20,000 new processed food and beverage products which people have been living just fine without are brought to market each year is a subject for another post.
Oreo is probably one of the most cannibalized brands and flavors on the shelves. I guiltily admit to having had a pretty serious Oreo jones early in life. I have kicked my habit, however, because of the parent company’s horrible track record on environmental issues. Yet, even when I still purchased the product, I never understood the pull of Oreo breakfast cereal, Oreo candy bars, Oreo ice cream, Oreo donuts, etc. Like Lucy Moran says at the wine tasting in season two of Twin Peaks, “Why don’t we just skip the wine and have a banana split?”
Food technicians lack of creativity is apparently an endless abyss – a cookie that tastes like another and is being sold right next to the original? As if cannibalizing our immediate past wasn’t bad enough, now we are cannibalizing the present. I need some cookies and milk to calm down – so long as the cookies aren’t Oreos.