Oreo Preferences

Everyone loves Oreos! They are delicious and sugary and chocolatey and have excellent filling!

For your pleasure, I have done extensive research on the preferences of several different kinds of Oreos. Well, maybe not extensive research. But a bunch of research anyways!

I did a small study to compare Oreos, Oreo Double Stuf, and Oreo Thins. Here are some basic stats about the cookies in question:

Name Calories/


Serving Size Calorie/


Servings per box Cookies Calories per box
Oreo 160 3 53.3 12 36 1920
Oreo Double 140 2 70.0 15 30 2100
Oreo Thin 140 4 35.0 10 40 1400

I had 21 participants. Only 4 of my participants regularly pulls their Oreos apart. But 41% of the participants dunk their Oreos in milk! So the milk tradition is still going strong. Of these 21, 10 preferred double stuf, 8 preferred classic and 3 preferred thins.

I wanted to understand the overall preference between these cookie types versus their caloric intake. I want to determine if this data would change anyone’s mind about which cookie they eat.

I am a die-hard Double Stuf eater. I don’t understand why anyone would eat a classic Oreo. There is far too much cookie for the amount of filling. However, there is the disappointing truth that my cookie choice costs 16 calories more per cookie. And I only get 30 cookies in my box of cookies. If I’m trying to count calories the question is: do I love a single double stuf cookie 30% more than I love a single regular Oreo?  For me, there is no question. I absolutely do. Lets get into the weeds: if I prefer double stuf and my enjoyment level is an 7, but my enjoyment level of a classic is a 4. Then I enjoy my double stuf 7/4 -1 = 75% more than I enjoy the classic. So, even if I’m watching my calories, I shouldn’t switch to classic.

My participants were given a single cookie of each type as asked to rate their preferences in order (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and then to rate their enjoyment numerically from 0 to 10.  So I can also consider their answers. Do those who prefer double stuf prefer it by more than 30%?  Of the 10 people who prefer double stuf, only 5 prefer it by more than 30% of the value they gave classic. Thus, the 5 for whom double stuf is not vastly superior, they should probably stick to classic.

What about thins? An Oreo thin is only 50% of the calories of a double stuf and 66% of the calories of a classic. Of the 8 people who chose classic as their preference, do they prefer it 50% more than a thin? Only one person rated the classic more than 50% higher than they rated the thin.  Thus, 7 out of 8 people who prefer classics actually gain more enjoyment/calorie from an Oreo thin.  Additionally, 6/10 people who prefer double stuffs actually gain more enjoyment/calorie from an Oreo thin.

What about me? I was surprisingly pleased with the taste experience of the Oreo thin.  I gave the thin the same value as the double stuf: 7/10.  Therefore, if I want a single cookie, it’s actually WAY better for me to get 7 points of enjoyment out of a thin than a double stuf. As a result of this study, I buy Oreo thins instead of double stuf. What will you do?

In conclusion, although thins were the least desirable (only 3/21 people preferred them most), if you only get 1 cookie and you want to optimize your enjoyment to calorie ratio, then most people should buy thins. 16 out of 21, or 76%, of my participants would get more enjoyment/calorie from a thin than from any other Oreo.



About Samantha from SocialMath

Applied Mathematician and writer of socialmathematics.net.
This entry was posted in Communicating Math. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Oreo Preferences

  1. photoscientist says:

    I have not eaten Oero cookies in many years. They have way too many calories for me to justify eating; however, I would make an exception for special occasions.

  2. Bret W says:

    Let me just by saying that the correct answer is traditional Oreos… they’re perfect in every way and I wish they’d stop messing around with the ratios and flavor of quite possibly the world’s perfect food.

    That aside… shouldn’t you normalize the amount (calories) of each type of cookie presented to each participant in order to understand their actual preference of cookie? Otherwise, I feel using “cookie” as a unit of measure is skewing the responses. For example, do you prefer double stuffs because of the ratio or simply because you’re getting more cookie for every cookie? Would the same preferences surface if I were to give you a choice between 2 thins and 1 double stuff? It’s kind of like asking do you prefer a large pepperoni pizza or a medium supreme pizza.

    Once normalized in this way, I think we’re really know what type of cookie folks prefer and then could apply that type of cookie to meet whatever calorie budget optimizes between the pleasure of eating cookies and the self loathing of eating a box cookies!

    • Samantha from SocialMath says:

      Yep, I agree about the single cookie point! Building my analysis by single_cookies absolutely introduced bias into my analysis. And I’m sure we’ll just have to agree to disagree about the traditional Oreos being the best. 😉 . Speaking of which, you might be interested: I did some very rough analysis that didn’t make it into the article about the ratio of cookie to cracker. I decided that the double stuf and the thins had similar cookie to filling ratios. The traditional Oreo has a higher cookie to filling ratio than either of the others. But, ratios aside, I am confident that if I normalize for enjoyment/calorie, then I would get different results. In that situation, it’s completely possible that traditional Oreos come out on top. 🙂

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