Fig Newtons get a new name

The plump fruit is on the outs as Nabisco tries to increase sales of the cookie line.

By Kim Peterson May 2, 2012 1:15PM
Is the fig out of favor?

It is at Nabisco, a unit of Kraft (KFT), where the famous Fig Newtons cookies have lost part of their name. They are simply called Newtons now.

The fig is still inside the cookie -- in three versions, including original and fat-free. Other versions include strawberry, raspberry and minis.

Post continues below.
Why the name change? The cookie had been losing sales and market share, The New York Times reports. Nabisco wanted to know why and started asking consumers.

As it turned out, a lot of people just hate figs. One executive at Kraft told the Times about the "baggage of the fig."

"For people who loved us, there was heritage there, and they had eaten them most of their lives," the brand manager for Newtons told the Times. "But the opposite was true with the people that didn't love us -- they knew the brand as Fig Newtons, but they really disliked figs."

So a name change was in order. It isn't so much a change as a reversion to the original name. The first Fig Newtons were created in 1891 at Kennedy Biscuit Works in Cambridge, Mass. The cookie was named the Newton after a nearby town. The cookie didn't become the Fig Newton until later, and the new name was trademarked in 1914.

Now the sales slump is over. A new line of crisp cookies called Newtons Fruit Thins is a success, and Newtons have a 3.2% share of the American cookie market, the Times reports. Early last year, fig versions grabbed 75% of the sales in the Newton line. Now they get only 60% as the other flavors shine.






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177Comments
May 2, 2012 2:45PM
May 2, 2012 3:01PM
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It isn't the name that 's the reason for the cookie not selling!  It is the price, have you priced a package of newton lately?
May 2, 2012 2:58PM
May 2, 2012 2:30PM
May 2, 2012 4:19PM
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Nabisco Fig Newtons are now manufactured in Mexico as are other Nabisco cookies.  If Nabisco (Kraft Foods) can't make 'em in the US, and use American employees, why should we buy them???  Look on the label!!!
May 2, 2012 5:09PM
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They are not losing sales because of the word "Fig" - Duh!!  I hate figs, but love, absolutely LOVE fig newtons.  What has happened is they are not stuffed with filling like they used to be.  And, the outer crust is not as sweet.  They just aren't fun anymore.  Everyone is skimping on ingredients now-a-days.  That is the problem in a lot of snack items.  Take cup cakes - yuckko!!  And Twinkies - yuckko!!  The flavor is gone - nothing like I remember as a kid.  They are cheap versions of what used to be an amazing, mouth-watering treat.

May 2, 2012 11:43PM
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Here's a thought.  Go back to the original recipe and quit dicking with it.  
May 2, 2012 2:57PM
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I love Fig Newtons - including the Fig part!   I especially like the whole grain ones.
I did stop eating them for a while when I heard that a certain percentage of insect parts are allowed per ounce (or whatever the measurement was), but I stopped being afraid of that after I realized all of the other disgusting things that could be found in other "processed" foods.

My only issue with them right now is the price.  It's highway robbery how much they charge for a small package of cookies.  And speaking of the package - the new packaging seems very wasteful to me.  The plastic sleeves inside the cardboard box were so much more environmentally friendly.  Or just sell the plastic sleeves.  But don't keep putting them in the plastic tray inside the foil packaging.  It's a waste of space and money, if you ask me.  It doesn't keep them any fresher and I'm thinking you get less in the package.  Am I right?

May 2, 2012 3:01PM
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Oh, and by the way, in response to @bullTA, I am not a great grandmother - I'm only 41.  
You are not speaking for me when you say "kids dread them,adults despise them,only really old people like them,because of nostalgia".  Keep your words in your own mouth.
May 2, 2012 4:17PM
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sales have declined because less and less filling in the Newtons. You people cheat us we soon leave you. I just bought a package of the fig newton and there was so very little filling.
 
Wake up big business.
May 2, 2012 7:50PM
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Lost the market share because of the price - not the name!  MORONS!
May 2, 2012 7:46PM
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I love fig newtons but I don't love the price.  Lower the price and I'll buy 'em. 
May 2, 2012 4:36PM
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i love the cookies (just have to watch my waist and not eat too many) and will always call them Fig newtons...
May 2, 2012 3:00PM
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I've tried so many other brands. Fig Newtons are the best.
May 2, 2012 7:39PM
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As it turned out, a lot of people just hate figs.

I've eaten Fig Newtons all my adult life...that's a long time. My son was eating them too. That is until they began making them in Mexico. I've changed to Little Debbie's and Paul Newman's. Make them in America again and I'll buy them again.

Guess you didn't ask the right people. I never heard of a survey with regard to your 'changes', but I don't take much credence in surveys anyway...never seem to ask the right people.

Oh, and those Fruit Thins...LOL...air.

May 2, 2012 4:13PM
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Since they're supposed to be a healthy alternative to cookies, how about getting rid of the High Fructose Corn Syrup? 
May 2, 2012 5:20PM
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I wish I could taste a cookie from befor the 70's.  Imagine no high Fructose Corn Syrup, sugars were real and food didn't need vitamins.  I bet they would have been a bigger cookie with no preservatives, maybe even made in the USA.
May 2, 2012 7:02PM
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Yep....Now made in Mexico where only the company benefits from the lower costs to make them.  Also adding the fact that when you produce a product outside the United states, say goodby to the high standards that made consumable products safe.  I use to eat them regularly, but no more and haven't for awhile.  Nor do I buy other goods taken from the states and produced in third world countries.  They just have red flags written all over them. 

 

May 2, 2012 2:35PM
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Too bad more people aren't aware the Fig Newtons are still one of the best quick energy sources out thate and were used by cyclist for years before all the new tech enery gels and the like moved them to the side.  Recent studies indicate tehy will still do just a much for your in endurance events.
May 2, 2012 7:38PM
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How about lowering the price of them.
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