Watermelon Oreos dip into controversy

The classic cookie has a new summer flavor that has some people concerned about possible racist overtones, while others point out its lack of real fruit.

By Aimee Picchi Jun 19, 2013 10:20AM

A package of Watermelon Oreo’s (©Mondelēz Global)Mix a favorite summer fruit with an iconic American cookie, and what do you get? Apparently a mouthful of controversy. 

Mondelez International's (MDLZ) Nabisco has rolled out a limited-edition Oreo flavor for the summer, picking watermelon as its fruit of choice. It's not even the cookie maker's first fruit-flavored version, with previous spin-offs including banana split and chocolate with strawberry creme.

Some are saying the new flavor opens up jokes or insults that could veer into racism, given that the fruit is sometimes stereotyped as a favorite of blacks. The portrayal has its roots in American slavery, with defenders portraying slaves as happy as long as they had a slice of watermelon. 


"Really Nabisco . . . Watermelon Oreos? Are you TRYING 2 get some low-level intern fired for a racist joke email?" one consumer wrote on Twitter. 

Another issue is shadowing the pink-and-green-filled cookie: The treats don't include any real watermelon. Still, for Americans who have grown up with fruit-flavored products that get their taste from a laboratory, the lack of real fruit isn't bound to be much of a shock. 

"Why eat something that says watermelon but contains NO watermelon? Because I make poor life decisions," writes the JunkFoodGuy, a blog about "junk food, pop culture and awkwardness."

The cookies "didn't overwhelm me with artificial (well, overly artificial) watermelon flavor. Instead the immediate taste I got was a watermelon taste that tasted like, frankly, it had been blended with creme," he added. 

Nabisco's strategy hits on a relatively recent trend of spurring demand through new flavors, such as Kellogg's (K) Pop-Tarts, which earlier this year released a new peanut butter flavor

Real Oreos lovers, however, will likely skip over the controversy and welcome the new flavor with a cold glass of milk. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi. 

More on moneyNOW

Tags: FoodKMDLZ
Jun 19, 2013 11:26AM

I'm going to boycott stores that sell white bread and crackers, since they are both derogatory terms for white people.

See how easy it is to play this dumb*ss  "politically correct" game ?

Get a life you morons.

Jun 19, 2013 11:13AM
Oh, good lord.  Lighten up, people.  Sometimes a watermelon Oreo is just a watermelon Oreo.
Jun 19, 2013 11:01AM

People who cry racism are secretly racists in denial.

Jun 19, 2013 11:32AM
Does this mean they are going to scrap plans for the Fried Chicken Oreo?
Jun 19, 2013 10:46AM
What does watermelon have to do with racism?  I'm European-American and I enjoyed some watermelon last night.  Is there a connection between my race and the delicious flavor of watermelon?
Jun 19, 2013 10:58AM

Yea. Anyone who mentions watermelon is a Racist!


And I'm a white guy and I'm growing watermelons in my garden. OMG, I've lost my mind, how Racist of me! I'll go pull them up. Yea, right! ROTFLMFAO!

Jun 19, 2013 11:12AM
I'm so white that I'm translucent and I love watermelon.....some people really need to lighten up.(No pun intended)
Jun 19, 2013 12:12PM

Sometimes, people who cry "racism" all the time, they do more to reinforce stereotypes than if they were silent.

These idiots REMIND EVERYONE to think on terms of color!!

I'd rather not think like that. I'd rather think in terms of just being people, whether you like watermelon oreos or not.


I can't believe this is real. Watermelon does not equal black people. I'm black and contrary to popular belief don't like watermelon. Wait actually I do enjoy watermelon jolly ranchers. Any who, flavor does not equal race. I'm about 100% sure people of all races like to indulge in a slice of watermelon here or there. Oreo did not come out and say : Guess what black people? Have we got something that's gonna have you jumping out of your seats! Black Treats! Made by us for you! No they said: Hello world, try our new flavor. The end. If you want to be annoyed at a company directing something only at the black community check out McDonalds and their 365 promo.


Jun 19, 2013 12:28PM
ROTFLMOA!   These people are complete, utter losers!  Finding racism in a watermelon flavored cookie.

My family has bought 2 watermelons the past 4 weeks and have enjoyed them very much.  I have white, black and hispanic people in my household.  To these liberal pukes, I guess all of us are racist.

Go pound sand you morons.  I've long ago stopped tolerating your nonsense.
Jun 19, 2013 11:11AM

Technically, would an oreo actually NOT like watermelon since they are white on the inside? (And apparently only black people like watermelon)


This PC, racism stuff is too complex for me:-/

Jun 19, 2013 11:29AM
Only an idiot would find something racist in flavoring something as watermelon. I hear they suck by the way.
Jun 19, 2013 11:42AM

So yummy when you dip them in foodstamp sauce.

Jun 19, 2013 11:11AM
I would like to know what makes a watermelon Oreo racist. We got the lemon ones and they are delicious and I would like to try the watermelon ones for the heck of it. I love watermelon and if the lemon Oreos are any indication, then the watermelon Oreos probably aren't bad (despite not being real fruit).
Jun 19, 2013 12:01PM
What is the connection between watermelon Oreos and racism?
Jun 19, 2013 11:06AM

I think this is a wonderful summertime offering and one I will TRY/BUY..  I wish Baskin-Robbins would bring back their wonderful Watermelon Sherbert for the summer.  What is next cantaloupe/strawberries/blueberries with prejudice?


Jun 19, 2013 11:57AM
An Oreo is an Uncle Tom... black on the outside and white in the middle, for those who don't know.  And watermelon is a favorite cliche fruit about black people (but everybody loves them).  But they made these without the black outside, which ought to deftly dodge this ridiculous controversy.
Jun 19, 2013 1:58PM

I get annoyed when I go to the store and see a box labeled "crackers" or "white bread" ---I know

it is racist and was used in a demeaning manner to make me feel bad about myself//////////  Who

do I see to sue these companies that have caused soooo much pain in my life?????????????

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