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Mondelez sues Parle over latter’s Oreo lookalike Fabio

But Oreo wasn’t really the first to introduce the black cookie and cream biscuit to the world.

Mondelez owned food manufacturer Intercontinental Great Brands has taken Indian foods brand Parle Products to court. The dispute is over Parle’s alleged copying of Mondelez’s flagship cream biscuit Oreo.

It doesn’t come as a surprise since Parle’s recently launched Fabio bears a striking resemblance to the globally popular Oreo cookie – white cream between two round dark biscuits.

Without going into the ‘what is’ and ‘what will be’, here’s an interesting Oreo story about ‘what was’. The iconic Oreo format was introduced in 1912 by Nabisco (which later became Mondelēz International). But Oreo wasn’t the first. The world had already seen the black cookie-cream biscuit four years prior, in the form of ‘Hydrox’. The Hydrox cookie was launched by Sunshine Biscuits in 1908.

Hydrox does sound like an industrial cleanser. Reportedly, the name was derived from hydrogen and oxygen—the two elements of water. It was supposed to imply purity. The comparatively less popular Hydrox is still manufactured and marketed by US based confectioner Leaf Brands.

Going by Hydrox’s tweets, it doesn’t look like the brand has come to terms with Oreo yet.

Mondelez launched Oreo in India about a decade back. The brand has occassionally experimented with flavours and the format. We had an orange flavoured Oreo and a Cadbury covered Oreo is still available. And going by the company’s claims, India is among its top-five markets by volume. India is now the 4th largest market for OREO in the world. This does say a lot about rivals wanting to have an Oreo like product in their portfolio.

Parle launched Fabio in early 2020. The new flavours include the classic Vanilla and chocolate cream.