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Why-ology News: Trend Go beyond the what to the why of consumer behavior. April 2018

Milk's Favorite Cookie

Advertised as "Milk's Favorite Cookie," Oreo boasts that it's been the number one–selling cookie in the United States since it launched in 1912. In 2014, global sales exceeded $3 billion. "That's more than twice the global sales of Cheerios cereal (a General Mills brand), and five times the annual sales of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese," according to

Oreo evolved from the original, simple chocolate biscuit to Oreo Sandwich Cookies with the addition of vanilla crème in between two biscuits in 1948. Through the years, more line extensions have developed. For example, today's consumers can enjoy classic-crème sandwiches, double-stuffed cookies, bite-size fudge-dipped thins, Oreo minis, and Golden Oreo cookies.

Figure: Trend: Households Using Oreo Cookies in the Past 6 Months

Achievers have long been the biggest Oreos fans—likely because cookies and milk are an iconic after-school snack, and Achievers households are among the most likely households to have children. Overall, however, the percent of US households that have used Oreo cookies in the past six months has declined from 20% in 2001 to 16% in 2017; in millions of households, from 21.4 million to 20.8 million. Purchase-volume data are unavailable, so it's entirely possible that although the number of households has declined, the number of purchased packages has not declined or increased.

Between 2001 and 2017, the percent of US households buying Oreos by VALS type has decreased for all consumer groups except Survivors; Survivors' household use has increased by 2% between 2001 and 2017—from 1.6 million to almost 3 million households. Survivors look for comfort food—inexpensive treats from familiar, well-known brands.

If you're an Oreo fan, see recipes at

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