Oreo vs. Chips Ahoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 9:00pm By

A few co-workers and I were discussing cookies at lunch one day. As the conversation went on, the question of which cookie is the best selling cookie in America was asked, and the answer didn’t surprise us: Oreo. We all agreed that chocolate chip cookies are probably the best selling as a type, but there are so many brands and varieties that one just can’t compete with Oreo for the crown.

Plates of Oreos and Chips Ahoy!

During that lunch, we decided to conduct a little test with our fellow co-workers. We would set out an equal number of Oreos and Chips Ahoy! on plates in the central area of our department and see which one disappeared first.  I predicted that Oreos would win, but the others figured the Chips Ahoy! would win.

Experiment One

April 22, 2008 — On Monday, April 21, 2008, we procured a bag of Oreos and a bag of Chips Ahoys!.  At 2:30 p.m. we put out two plates, each containing 15 cookies, in the central area of our department where free food is usually left.  An email was sent to the department stating that cookies were available, and we surreptitiously kept track of the quantity every five to ten minutes by visually counting how many were left on the plates.

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During the experiment, I did not eat any cookies from the plates (I had the other 2/3’s of the bags in my office, after all), and the other person “in” on the experiment had one cookie from each plate to keep the numbers even.

At 2:55 p.m. four Oreos were gone while the Chips Ahoy! plate was missing two.

At 3:20 p.m. there were a total of 11 Oreos and six Chips Ahoys! available. At 3:50 p.m. the Oreo plate was down to seven and the Chips Ahoy! plate was down to four.  It looked like Chips Ahoy! was going to win.

At 5:00 p.m. it was much closer.  There were four Oreos to three Chips Ahoy!  Just ten minutes later, Oreo took the lead with just two remaining while Chips Ahoy! hadn’t budged at three.  By 5:15 p.m., the Oreo plate was down to one while Chips Ahoy! seemed stuck at three.

The race was over at 5:50 p.m. with Oreo coming back from a six cookie deficit and winning by one.

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During the experiment, one of the others in on it suggested that we “refill” the winning plate with additional cookies to bring it even with the losing plate since people might not take from the winning plate since they don’t want to be the one to finish a plate.  We would keep track of how many were added to the plates and the winner would be the one with the most total cookies eaten.  This could be a valid experiment since Oreo came back from almost two to one down.  That version of the experiment will be conducted in the near future.

21 comments on ‘Oreo vs. Chips Ahoy!’

  1. chante says:

    i like chips ahoy cuz they have delicious chocolate chips&oreos;are ok but they arent great but chips ahoy are great&i will always eat them!!!!!!!!YUM YUM YUM YUMMY YUMMY

  2. Jim says:

    I would take a hydrox before I’d take an Oreo.  Granted, I wouldn’t pass up an Oreo if put under my nose, but put them side-by-side, HYDROX BABY!

  3. Eugene says:

    Hah! Fun experiment!  But I can’t help but wonder if it’s really one-sided doing it this way.  Like tim said, and a few others – it’s super easy to identify an Oreo, since it’s clearly branded.  Everyone who likes oreos knows what to look for and what to avoid. 
    On the flip side, Chips Ahoy lovers have no such help – chocolate chip cookie variants are a freakin dime a dozen, and they all look basically the same.  You never truly know what you’re getting till you take that first bite.
    I think a better 2-day experiment would be this: On day 1, put out a tray of Oreos.  Time how long it takes the oreos to disappear in the same way you did this experiment.  On day 2, put out the tray of Chips Ahoy.  repeat.  This way, your co-workers aren’t forced to make a snap judgement between what are clearly Oreos, and a cookie that may or may not be Chips Ahoy.  Now, the only choice they have to make is whether or not they really want a cookie, instead of whether or not they want a cookie, AND whether or not they can identify the brand – which not only complicates things, but obviously skews the results in favor of the Oreos.
    What what this original experiment found, I’d predict that my experiment would show you an initial surge in Oreo love, but ultimately a win for the chips, minus one cookie – funny thing, I and I think this tends to be universally true – nobody’s ever afraid to take the last Oreo, or donut, oatmeal raisin, or any other cookie, but when it comes to chocolate chips, everyone’s suddenly becomes concerned that someone else may not have gotten one.
    I call it ‘Sponataneous Chocolate Chip Altruism”  Happens with pizza too, but that’s usually less spontaneous. :D
    Anyway, I think you should definitely factor that into your results. <img src="http://joshmadison.com/images/smileys/wink.gif&quot; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

  4. Nestle says:

    (ROFL) Eugene, I don’t think you’ve ever been to a TriLUG meeting, where people give others a reasonable shot at a piece of Italian Pie for a few minutes, if they’ve had none at all – as late-comers to the gathering – but rapidly go ahead and snarf the last ‘un if there’re no takers! I don’t think anyone actually is struck with the compulsion to share c.c. cookies or pizza, versus some other type of bickie or portion of food… but I s’pose I could be wrong… ;D

  5. Eugene says:

    Nestle – hahaha! No, I haven’t ever been to a TriLUG meeting, but they sound like a bunch of heathens :p (heathens with delicious pizza = awesome)
    Maybe it’s just me, but it always seems like the last cc cookie – even if they’re really good – always seems to last longer than you expect it to.

  6. K-T: Katie cleverer says:

    The worst feeling in the world is when you think that there's one more cookie or chip in the bag, and you wait and wait, building up to that last one, and when you finally can't stand it you stick your hand in to grab the last bite only to find out, you've already scarfed down the last cookie, and didn't really appreciate it cuz you always assumed there would be one more cookie, and now you're left feeling empty and dissapointed and still hungry even though you just ate a whole bag of cookies. And you were really, really looking forward to that last cookie. And now there is no last cookie. And you're left with an extra notch in your belt and an empty plastic bag that will never hold that last cookie. This thought depresses me to no end.

  7. fede says:

    Everyone is going to eat where there are more cookies so nobody could notice some cookies are missing! (its bin a lot taim sins aiv iust mai inglish)

  8. Todd says:

    I would assume that in an office environment people would choose the chips ahoy because oreos stick between teeth and are quite obvious. I imagine it isn't as much of a problem in the am while coffee is brewing, but after the coffee is gone I'd be too self conscience to go for the oreo.
    Maybe a 9am and 4pm test is in order?
    Just a thought….

  9. geoear says:

    Because the experiment ended, in what I would call a tie (zero to one), I wonder if there isn't a psychological or instinctual component, either conscious or subconscious, of wanting to take from the larger pile.

    When you see a number of pieces of cake, of varying size (disregarding learned social influences, like wanting to lose weight, or etiquette by taking the piece closest to you, etc.), do you, deep down, truly WANT to take the largest piece? I know I do! Also, if anyone feels they are being observed, either by the experimenters, or other coworkers who are present at the time of their selection, their decision may be influenced.

    Similarly, if you have two bowls of dog food, one with just a few nuggets, and the other completely full, which bowl do you suppose a dog would typically go to first?

    I suspect there is more to the experiment than simply which cookie is more popular!

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