Mondelez International Inc. plans to introduce red velvet Oreos, the brand’s second departure from its traditional black chocolate cookies in more than 100 years, aiming to win over foodies and cupcake fanatics.
The new Oreos, made with red cookies and cream cheese-flavored filling, will be released across the U.S. on Feb. 2, according to Deerfield, Illinois-based Mondelez. The new product was developed for more than a year and will be sold at U.S. stores for at least six weeks or while supplies last.
Mondelez’s Nabisco began selling vanilla-flavored golden Oreos in 2004, straying from chocolate cookies for the first time since the snack was invented in 1912. Red velvet Oreos, hitting shelves in time for Valentine’s Day, will test U.S. consumers’ appetite for a chocolatey flavor that’s gained a wider following in recent years.
Red velvet was long considered a Southern dessert, before spreading across the country in recent years -- helped in part by its popularity as a cupcake flavor.
“We’ve seen consumers really getting fanatical about the flavor of red velvet cake,” Janda Lukin, senior director for Oreo North America at Mondelez, said in a phone interview. “We think it stays true to who we are as Oreo but can also really satisfy those folks who are red velvet fanatics.”
The red velvet cookies come with a suggested retail price of $4.49 per bag. Global sales of Oreos, the world’s top-selling cookie, doubled from 2007 to 2011 and climbed to $2.4 billion in 2013, Mondelez said.
As foodie culture seeps into the mainstream, Americans are developing “restless palate syndrome,” said Michael Whiteman, president of Baum & Whiteman International Restaurant Consultants in New York. He said red velvet will join pumpkin spice as big packaged-food flavor trends this year.
“We’ve become flavor junkies,” Whiteman said in an e-mail. “That’s part of why you see red velvet staining everything from onion rings to waffles to ice cream to cocktails -- especially around St. Valentine’s Day.”
(A previous version of the story was corrected to fix the year that golden Oreos debuted.)