December 20, 2010

The Tootsie Roll and the Oreo

In the past decade and a half the kosher world has witnessed an unprecedented explosion of popular food brands going kosher. But none was so widely covered as Nabisco’s Oreo. It was for all practical purposes an example of the forbidden fruit going kosher. Even The New York Times Magazine featured an account by an Oreo lover that celebrated the “conversion.” The newest national brand to feature the kosher symbol is Tootsie Roll, but while generating a great deal of publicity it is just not in the league of the Oreos in my opinion. Nor for that matter was Jelly Belly, another recent addition. So just why do I not consider the announcement by Tootsie Roll Industries that its products are now certified by the Orthodox Union (OU) to be as earth shattering as the Oreo?

Well, for starters there is the first man on the moon syndrome, which clearly gives Oreos the edge. Secondly, Tootsie Roll is not for everyone, particularly for older folks who don’t exactly appreciate the gooey chocolate. Third, what took you so long Tootsie Roll? Well, in any event, many youngsters are drooling at the newly OU certified Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Fruit Rolls, Frooties and DOTS. Even so, Tootsie Pops are still not kosher, so the job is still not complete. Just imagine an OU on a product that sells 64 million Tootsie Rolls a day and is one of the world's largest lollipop suppliers.