How Oreo Is Cashing In On The Prepper Trend

With everything that has been going on in the world over the past few years, maybe the doomsday preppers on TV weren't so wrong after all. Or at least, that's what Oreo seemed to think when they built their very own "asteroid proof bunker" in 2020. According to a video posted by Oreo on its official YouTube channel, the Oreo vault, filled with Oreo cookies, powdered milk, and the Oreo recipe, was created to withstand Asteroid 2018VP1, which had a small chance of hitting Earth in November of the same year. 

The Oreo vault was created as a parody of Svaldbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. According to the seed vault's website, that project has collected over 1.1 million seed samples to preserve in the vault in case of a global crisis. Oreo claims its vault, just down the road from the seed vault, has a similar purpose: protecting milk's favorite cookie in case of the end of the world. Oreo stated that they wrapped the cookies in Mylar to protect them from whatever temperature extremes they may face. The vault also contains powdered milk that can be mixed with snow from the surrounding area, allowing the cookies to be dunked before consumption (via the New York Post).

The Oreo bunker was mostly just a PR stunt

Unfortunately, it appears that the Oreo asteroid-proof bunker was mostly just a PR stunt, and not something Oreo planned on keeping up with in the long run. While the bunker did in fact exist, there are conflicting reports on whether or not it still contains the Oreos, powdered milk, and secret Oreo recipe. According to Insider, the company said that the contents would stay inside the vault until Asteroid 2018VP1 safely passed Earth.

Given that Asteroid 2018VP1 passed Earth at a distance of 419,033 km in November of 2020, according to Space Reference, perhaps it's safe to assume that Oreo removed its famous cookies from the bunker, along with the other items. Still, it is possible Oreo didn't want to spend the effort to go remove the contents from the bunker. It's almost surprising that no one has tried to visit the vault for themselves, although the New York Post reports that the door has a coded lock to keep looters from stealing the cookies.

Oreos might actually make a great end-of-times snack

While it may not seem like a food item that is at the top of a doomsday preppers list, Oreos actually have a surprisingly long shelf life. According to Does It Go Bad?, Oreo packages typically have an expiration date set nine months (or more) after their production date. Additionally, most Oreos will still taste okay for several months past the expiration date. According to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, this is because expiration dates are not a hard-and-fast time limit on when food goes bad, but are recommendations based on the taste, as explained in a 2013 report by Time Magazine. Various food items can safely be consumed after their expiration date; they just might not taste as fresh.

That being said, don't go around trying that old package of Oreos you just found in the back of your pantry. Expiration dates are a recommendation based on the freshness of taste, so it is impossible to know when your Oreos have actually expired once that date has passed. Not only is there no easy way to tell if your Oreos have gone bad, external factors like mold growth may not be immediately visible and can cause health issues like allergic reactions, fever, stomach issues, and trouble breathing (via WebMD). Unless your Oreos have been stored in perfect conditions in preparation for the end of the world, eating them past their expiration date simply isn't worth it.