Hydrox-Oreo Rivalry Heats Up with FTC Complaint
When it comes to well-known brand rivalries, Oreo versus Hydrox is up there with Coke v. Pepsi and McDonald’s v. Burger King. Except, sadly, the century-long sandwich cookie battle is often mentioned when citing a feud with a clear winner: Oreo is the best-selling cookie brand in the world; Hydrox had to reboot its business as recently as 2015. But despite some of its modern struggles, Hydrox is not giving up. In fact, the rejuvenated brand has recently gone on the offensive, calling out Oreo in a 400-word Facebook post.
“We @hydroxcookie have been very frustrated with the hiding of our cookies at major retailers by the folks @oreo, so we finally filed an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission last week,” the statement begins. Specifically, Hydrox alleges that Oreo distributors have been actively making Hydrox cookies harder for customers to find with tactics such as hiding them behind other products or moving them entirely. The post even includes photos as evidence.
Hydrox claims that the reason this can happen is that Mondelez, maker of Oreos, distributes their products themselves while the smaller Hydrox relies on supermarket employees. “We had no idea a competitor hiding our cookies was going to be a problem until a buyer for one of the largest store chains in the US sat us down and said, ‘We're going to bring Hydrox into our stores, but you're going to have a major issue to deal with,’” Hydrox anecdotally recounts. “’Mondelez is going to hide your cookies all over our stores to make sure you don't get any sales, in hopes of being discontinued…. You're going to have to hire people to go into each of our stores and make sure Hydrox is not being hidden.’ At that point, our jaw dropped.”
For its part, an Oreo spokesperson recently told the site Thrillist that the brand has received no official notification about the complaint but is sure that it “has no merit” all the same. “The Oreo brand is an iconic one, with a proud and rich history of delivering great tasting products and exciting innovations to our consumers for more than a century,” they continued. “This focus, and our commitment to operating with integrity, has made Oreo America’s favorite cookie.”
Meanwhile, though the evidence is again just anecdotal, a number of commenters on Hydrox’s Facebook post claim they’ve seen or heard of this kind of behavior. “I can personally attest that Mondelez DOES in fact do this,” writes one woman who says she was a Retail Reset Merchandiser for SAS Retail Services. Another regular customer who is upset he can no longer find Hydrox at his local grocery store suggests, “An employee told me the Oreo folks threatened to cut back on their deliveries if Hydrox wasn’t dropped.”
Regardless of which side of this argument is telling the truth, one thing in this situation is for certain: The Oreo versus Hydrox rivalry is certainly alive and well 100-plus years later.