The Original Nabisco Factory 1899
Nabisco can trace its roots as far back as 1792 when Pearson and Sons opened their bakery. They featured a biscuit called pilot bread, which was meant to last a long time on sea voyages. This biscuit was later called a “cracker”. In 1889, William Moore acquired 7 local bakeries and put them together as one business under the name New York Biscuit Company.
Adolphus Green started the American Biscuit Company in 1890. He was also acquiring bakeries and in 1898, Green, Moore, and another bakery owner, John Zeller, merged to form the National Biscuit Company. Green was the first CEO.
The company worked on designing a package which would make their biscuits last longer and remain fresh. This was the founding of the “In-Er Seal package”, introduced in 1898. The In-Er seal was simply folded wax paper and cardboard, but it was revolutionary in its time.
The first mention of the word Nabisco appears in 1901 on a cracker. Soon afterwards, the cookie Fig Newton also began to be marketed.
Oreo cookies are perhaps the biggest seller in the Nabisco line-up. First appearing in 1912, the origin of the name is unknown. The original name was the Oreo Biscuit, which was later changed to Oreo Sandwich, then again to the Oreo Sandwich Cookie we know today. In the 1920’s lemon filled Oreos were popular, but they have since been discontinued. In the early 1990’s, health concerns caused Nabisco to change from using lard to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. This was changed again in 2006 when the company realized their cookies contained trans fats. Nabisco now uses non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Today, Nabisco is one of the largest manufacturers of snacks, crackers, and cookies in the US. Their baking plant in Chicago, Illinois, is the largest bakery in the world, with more than 1,200 employees and making more than 320 million pounds of snacks each year. The company was purchased by Mondelez International in 2012.
In August 2018, the company redesigned its well-known box of Animal Crackers to remove the bars that surrounded commonly found zoo animals and instead used pictures of animals in their more natural habitat, after PETA petitioned the company to stop promoting zoos.
Nabisco used RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant from season 10, Miss Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, to advertise Chip Ahoy! cookies for Mother’s Day and it angered many conservatives.
The company also distributed special edition Oreos in pink, blue and purple with the slogan “Ask me my pronoun” for gay pride in NYC. The cookies weren’t sold in stores and were promotional items only but this angered many conservatives who called for a boycott.
The company is best known for crackers and cookie brands such as Oreos, Wheat Thins, Ritz Crackers, and Chips Ahoy! Nabisco’s logo looks similar to an antenna atop a circle. The company states that this is an early European symbol for quality.