Bahrain has celebrated the opening of a state-of-the-art food production and distribution plant at Salman Industrial City in Hidd with a record-breaking pop culture cookie.
The world’s largest cream-filled biscuit was proudly made by the team at the new multi-million dinar premises and certified by Guinness World Records officials as a surprise to Daniel Myers, executive vice president of global integrated supply chain at Mondelez International, visiting for the official inauguration.
The giant cookie weighed in at 73.4kg with a diameter of 74cms and thickness of 20cms. It was made with the real dough used in Oreo cookies and filled with cream.
Safa Hassan, a quality assurance specialist at the Bahrain biscuits plant, came up with the suggestion and it was fully supported by plant director Mohamed Shalaby. “There was a discussion with the team about ideas for the grand opening, then I dropped in the idea to make the biggest,” she told GulfWeekly. “It was a great feeling to see it materialise.”
The process was not short of challenges, one being to make a giant mould and it took several attempts to get the size and shape correct and a well-baked and unbroken giant Oreo was created after only a few tries.
Food and beverage giant Mondelez’s $90 million biscuit factory was inaugurated last week by Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, son of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.
The factory currently makes Oreo cookies and Barni biscuits and Mondelez aims to export $500 million worth of products from Bahrain when both of its plants are operating at optimum capacity.
The new plant is located 3km from Mondelez’s first manufacturing site, which has been producing Kraft cheese and Tang powdered beverages since 2008.
The Mondelez Bahrain Biscuits factory marked the nation’s and company’s realisation of its vision described as from ‘Ocean to Oreo’ as Bahrain won the project despite not having the land for it during the bidding process and against stiff opposition.
The 250,000sqm ‘Factory of the Future’ is about the size of 30 soccer fields with production capacity of nearly 45,000 tonnes per year – equal to the weight of 65,000 Formula 1 racing cars.
The new plant has already made a valuable contribution to the local economy, created about 150 direct jobs, and through the two plants together will help sustain more than 12,000 indirect jobs with 350 suppliers.
The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will serve as a hub for exports to the Gulf region, the Levant and Africa to help meet the growing demand for its biscuit products, in particular the famous ‘chocolate sandwich cookies’.
Oreo, some now coming in ‘Made in Bahrain’ packaging, has become the best-selling cookie in the US since its introduction in 1912. The treat is now available in more than 100 different countries worldwide.
The simple chocolate and cream filled cookie continues to grow in popularity, despite having not changed much in its 106 years of existence, managing to weather more than a century of constant changes in attitudes and preferences about food.
The super black outer shell with the snow white goo inside makes it look different than most alternatives. Oreo cookies do not contain any colourants, so the only probably origin of that black colour actually is the cocoa powder.
As anyone who has ever eaten an Oreo knows that despite its simplicity, there are a few different ways to actually eat one. There is the dunk, the split, the split and lick, and more, all the while taking a stance and defending your preferred method of consumption with your fellow Oreo connoisseurs.
In fact, a 1981 article titled Creative Eating: The Oreo Syndrome, by folk historian Elizabeth Mosby Adler suggested that part of the Oreo’s appeal is that it allows people to bring their own personal style to experience.
Delighted Daniel, who spoke to GulfWeekly after the launch, couldn’t agree more. He said: “My favourite time to eat an Oreo is to put a pack in a cooler and settle down on the beach. You eat a cold Oreo and it is fantastic! The combination of chocolate and vanilla is great and it’s real chocolate we use, real ingredients, it’s not this fake chocolate, it’s that promise of great quality that’s made people all around the world love Oreo.”
The giant Oreo impressed the Guinness World Record adjudicators too. It was probably bigger than the giant model of one featured in the grounds of the plant which became a major feature for ‘selfies’ at the launch.
The team tucked into the treat afterwards and any crumbs left over went to animal feed.
And the next big challenge may be to produce the world’s largest Barni biscuit. Sweet!
Stanley Louis Szecowka
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