Fig Newtons get a new name

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

By Kim Peterson May 2, 2012 1:09PM
Is the fig out of favor?

It is at Nabisco, a unit of Kraft (KFT), where the famous Fig Newtons cookie has lost part of its name. Now, the cookies are simply called Newtons.

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

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

As it turned out, a lot of people just hate figs.

"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."

And so another name change for the cookie was in order. This wasn'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; 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 only get 60% as the other flavors shine.

One executive at Kraft even told the Times about the "baggage of the fig."




Tags: KFT
1Comment
May 2, 2012 2:52PM
avatar
Yum.  Call them what they are but they still taste great!
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