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.
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.
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.
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