Oreo cookies didn’t fare well in China their first time around. When Kraft introduced them there in 1996, they were a definite flop. By the early 2000s, Kraft was losing money on every Oreo sold, despite pouring plenty of marketing dollars into the product. The company even had to take the radical step of altering the cookies’ recipe for the first time in its history. But following a merger with Heinz in 2015, AdAge reports Kraft is ready to debut a new sandwich cookie in China.
While it’s similar to Oreos, Jif Jaf—as the company’s dubbed the new cookie brand—will have fillings tailored to the Chinese market, including matcha tea, chili, and cheese. Why not just keep those flavors under the Oreo umbrella? Because Kraft ceded the Oreo brand, among others, to Mondelez International company in 2012, prior to the merger with Heinz. Now Oreoless, Kraft hopes Jif Jaf will be its first cookie hit overseas.
Jif Jaf looks similar to Oreos in that it’s two chocolate wafers with a sandwich filling in the middle, but its branding is quite different. Quartz reports that in the cookies’ advertising, each Jif Jaf flavor has its own personality; “the matcha character is calm and zen-like, chili is a thrill-seeker, and cheese is a ladies’ man.” Clearly.
Stateside, Mondelez-owned Oreos continue their own flavor experimentation, asking fans to weigh in on the #MyOreoCreation winner: limited-edition cherry cola, kettle corn, and piña colada Oreos are on shelves now, and voting to choose a favorite ends June 30. Wait—why no cheese flavor?