By Charles Passy
Are you ready for another sweet-and-salty mashup?
Mondelēz International (NAS:MDLZ) , the food giant behind the Oreo and Ritz brands, has rolled out a snack combining the two treats in one, available through a limited-time mail offering.
How limited? There were 1,000 boxes of the Ritz X Oreo combo up for grabs, starting Thursday at noon. But they were gone within hours . (Technically, the snacks were free, but shipping was $3.95.)
Sellers on eBay (NAS:EBAY) are already hawking the item for considerable sums. A couple of them have it priced at $600 .
It’s perhaps no surprise that Mondelēz introduced the item, which features a Ritz cracker and an Oreo cookie sandwiching both peanut butter and “creme” fillings. In recent years, Americans have shown they can’t get enough of any sweet-and-salty food items. The doughnut burger has become a staple item at fairs and carnivals. McDonald’s (NYS:MCD) has its McGriddles breakfast sandwiches, with savory items stuffed between griddle cakes.
And earlier this year, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, a gourmet brand, rolled out an everything bagel-seasoning flavor – yes, salt, sesame seeds, garlic and more with the sweet frozen stuff.
Food experts and professionals told MarketWatch there’s a reason why sweet-and-salty items are popular. In a word, the combo works.
“I’ve always found that a little bit of salt sort of brightens up something sweet — that’s why a touch of sea salt on a brownie is so delicious,” said veteran food writer Aly Walansky.
That point is echoed by Darryl Harmon, executive chef of Clinton Hall, a New York City restaurant. Harmon speaks from experience: One of his most popular items is a grilled-cheese sandwich made with – what else? – doughnuts. Harmon says he sells about three dozen orders a day.
Of course, some foodies warn you can take a good thing too far. Walansky says there are some sweet-and-salty mashups she just couldn’t fathom. “I don’t want ice cream with my Bolognese” sauce, she said.
But most food pros are on board with the Oreo-and-Ritz combo. Diamond Wynn, a recipe developer for EveryPlate, a meal-kit service, said she’d be “excited” to try the mashup, noting that her grandfather “used to put peanut butter and sea salt on Oreo cookies,” so the combo is something that speaks to her culinary roots.
“You have to be adventurous with food,” Wynn said.