Hydrox is the brand name for a crème-filled chocolate sandwich cookie manufactured by Leaf Brands. It debuted in the United States in 1908, and was manufactured by Sunshine Biscuits for over 90 years. The similar Oreo cookie, introduced in 1912, was ultimately inspired by the Hydrox. The Oreo eventually exceeded Hydrox in popularity, which resulted in the Hydrox being perceived as an imitator, although it was the original. Hydrox was largely discontinued in 1999 three years after Sunshine was acquired by Keebler, which was later acquired by Kellogg's. In September 2015, the product was re-introduced by Leaf Brands. Hydrox cookies have a less-sweet filling and a crunchier cookie shell that has been noted to become less soggy in milk.
In 1908, the creators of the cookie sought a name that would convey "purity and goodness" and derived their choice from the component elements that constitute the molecule of water (hydrogen and oxygen).
Sunshine Biscuits was purchased by Keebler in 1996, and in 1999, Keebler replaced Hydrox with a similar but reformulated product called Droxies. Keebler was acquired by Kellogg's in 2001. Kellogg's removed Droxies from the market in 2003. Kellogg's marketed a similar chocolate sandwich cookie under the Famous Amos brand, along with sandwich cookies of other flavors, but has discontinued the line in 2011.
On the cookie's 100th anniversary, Kellogg's resumed distribution of Hydrox under the Sunshine label, with the first batches shipped in late August 2008. Hydrox aficionados had bombarded Kellogg's with thousands of phone calls and an online petition asking that production resume. The recipe was slightly altered from the original; trans-fats were removed. The cookies were available nationally for a limited time, and less than a year later Kellogg's had removed Hydrox from their web site.
The Carvel ice cream franchise sold ice-cream goods manufactured with "Hydrox" cookie crumbs until 2012. Carvel used the cookies' all-kosher status as a selling point, as the original Oreo recipe used lard. The cookies were not specifically mentioned by name on the Carvel website, but they were identified as hydrox (lower-case 'h') on the in-store posters. Carvel currently uses Oreo cookies in its ice cream goods.
In 2014, Leaf Brands registered the Hydrox trademark, which had been abandoned by former owner Kellogg's. Leaf began production of its version of Hydrox on September 4, 2015, at the company's facility in Vernon, California. In 2017, the recipe was changed to remove artificial flavors that had been used for 50 years and the company obtained non-GMO certification.
Leaf Brands filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission in 2018 against Mondelez International, maker of Oreo cookies, for hiding Hydrox cookies from customers on store shelves.
Leaf Brands L.L.C. officially relaunched Hydrox cookies on Sept. 4 with the onset of production at the company's facility in Vernon, Calif.