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Fig Newton fans upset by name change

Nabisco's decision to drop the 'fig' from Fig Newtons brings out the brand's lovers -- and haters.

By Giselle Smith May 2, 2012 6:57PM

Image: Couple arguing (© Randy Faris/Corbis)Would a Fig Newton by any other name be as sweet, as chewy -- or as well-loved by its fans? Or any less reviled by its dectractors?


Nabisco, the Kraft Foods subsidiary with a trademark on the cookie name, recently announced its decision to drop "fig" from the brand name and just call the cookies Newtons. First introduced in 1891, the cookies have been available in flavors such as strawberry -- which contains no figs -- for years, so one could argue that the name change simply reflects truth in advertising. But devotees are not convinced.


The Newton brand now includes three cookie products -- traditional Newtons, Fruit Thins and Fruit Crisps -- and the traditional variety comes in whole grain, fat-free and mini versions, as well as two different berry fillings.


The name change accompanies a new marketing campaign, The New York Times reported.


Trending topic on Twitter

After the news broke Tuesday night, the topic was trending on Twitter, prompting unenthusiastic tweets from handles such as "@RL_Stine," who tweeted: "Hey, what happened to the Fig in Fig Newtons? Are we really supposed to eat something called Newtons?" (Post continues below video.)

"This seems wrong," tweeted "@popcandy."


"First, round Saltines. Now, Fig Newtons will just be called 'Newtons.' What's next? Triangle Cheez-Its called 'It'?" tweeted "@davidwade."


A fair number of people said they didn't eat them before and wouldn't start now. Several said only old people eat Fig Newtons, and a number mentioned a certain health benefit of high-fiber fruit. 


"It was going to be hard for us to advance the Newtons brand with the baggage of the fig," a Kraft spokesperson told the Times. 


That meant stepping away from the fruit perceived as being akin to prunes -- which got a marketing spin of their own in 2000, when the FDA approved the use of "dried plums" as an alternative name for that product. 

New York magazine's Grub Street summarized the story with the headline "Fig Newtons Sounded Too Laxative-y, Now Just 'Newtons,'" prompting comments from readers such as "PMC111," who wrote: "that's like associating Newton with gravity which is associated with heaviness and OMG my jeans don't fit."


Fig-filled cookies may not appeal to everyone, but those who love them are both passionate and creative. A quick Internet search turns up dozens of recipes for homemade versions, including some that are gluten-free.


More from MSN Money:

May 3, 2012 1:04AM
I  object to the name change because the next thing you know ,the fig versions will be half apple flavored newtons to cut cost.  Mark my words.  With the name change there will no longer be a conflict and i guarantee it will change.  Just like so many things that claim to be 100 percent juice and subtly charge you for the premium juice and if you look at the ingredient list and apple juice is either first or second on the list and the advertised juice or item is third or fourth on the list.  All this will continue till people do like me and refuse the deceptive products.
May 3, 2012 6:35AM
First the oil lease screw up where the oil companies got 10 Billion dollars from the US taxpayers due to an "oversight" in the paperwork.......

Then  the mix up where 10 Billion Dollars IN CASH went missing in the Iraq war, pallets full of cash missing.....

And now this......they're dropping the Fig in the name  Fig Newtons, this is just too much, the American people are outraged!!!!

May 3, 2012 11:15AM
@newton lover: "...the fig versions will be half apple flavored newtons...."

Or even "mock apple" flavored! (Is that recipe still lurking on the back of Ritz Cracker boxes? Eye-rolling)
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