Something has happened to my favourite gluten free alternative to the ubiquitous ‘Oreo‘ biscuit and I am annoyed! Bear with me on this…..
Back in December 2014 I did a comparison of the various gluten free biscuits which showed similarity with the Oreo….. at that time there were three. My firm favourite was the O’Choco brand made by Lovemore foods. The things I most loved about them was the perfect darkness of the crumb which formed a crisp, smooth, not overly sweet chocolate biscuit sandwiched round sweet, silky vanilla cream.
Whilst it is now some years since I ate gluten, it is still in close-enough history for me to remember the experience of eating Oreos. They are good memories….. Oreos are distinctive in appearance, texture and flavour. When you have been able to eat them and then you can’t (because of course they contain nasty intolerant glutenous ingredients), then you miss them.
Finding O’Chocos somehow made things better! They were as close as I had come to my memories of enjoying Oreos and for that I was grateful and happy. Even on my recent trip to the States (the century-old home of the Oreo), I could not find an alternative that came any closer than the O’Choco (although the KinniToos Chocolate Vanilla Sandwich Creme Cookies are pretty good)…..
So why am I annoyed?
At the recent Allergy & Free From Show in London, I paid a visit to see the guys from Lovemore. It seems that those amazing O’Chocos have had a ‘facelift’…….. they didn’t need a facelift…… they didn’t ask for a facelift……. The chaps at Lovemore didn’t choose to give them a facelift either……. So why (you may ask) has it happened? Well……. apparently those ‘familiar’ O’Chocos may have trodden on a few toes and threatened to be too much like the real thing! The lawyers got in touch……. and the rest is history….
The mouldings that stamp the pattern on the biscuit had to be changed and the characteristic deep dark hue had to be toned up (can you really claim the colour of a biscuit as yours??) so there could be no confusion…… this biscuit is not an Oreo!
Okay….. so O’Chocos still taste great, (although psychologically, their changed appearance does challenge the brain to believe you are eating the same thing) but It frustrates me that big powerful companies can wield so much control…… Sure they have to defend their interests and protect their designs…… I get that….. Oreos are iconic…… but O’Chocos were never Oreos. How could they be? They are gluten free….. An alternative biscuit for us gluten-intolerants who don’t want to feel left out and want to be able to join the party…… just like everyone else.
When you have a child who wants to be like her friends and fit in with the crowd, having something that looks the part, matters!
If Nabisco US or Mondelez UK wish to make a gluten free biscuit that is equal and comparable to an Oreo, then sending in the boys to the ‘imposters’ may be a valid response. As a result of their hissy fit, we (in the UK at least…… it would appear that Stateside, KinniToos still seem to be getting away with looking virtually identical…) have been robbed of our fraternal substitute.
Frustration vented, I can now get back to the new-look O’Chocos……. No they don’t look like Oreos any more, but they still taste great…… and because of that I will still be buying and of course, eating them…… They will still be mingled into Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream and I will still be dunking them in my mid-morning cuppa. I will still crumble them as a base ingredient for cheesecake and they will still be mixed into trifle……
But you know what? If Nabisco ever decides to take the Oreo to the dizzy heights of gluten-freedom, out of principle, I for one will think twice before I buy them…….
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