Home Today Is It’s Fig Newton Day Only Now They’re Just Called ‘Newtons’

It’s Fig Newton Day Only Now They’re Just Called ‘Newtons’

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National Fig Newton Day is observed annually on January 16.

A Nabisco trademarked version of the fig roll, Newtons are a pastry filled with fig paste. Fig Newton’s have an unusual shape that is a characteristic which has been adopted by many competitors including generic fig bars.

It was up until the 19th century that many physicians believed that most illnesses were related to digestion problems and they recommended a daily intake of biscuits and fruit. The ideal solution to this advice was fig rolls, which remained a locally produced and handmade product.

In 1891, Philadelphia baker and fig-lover, Charles Roser, invented and patented the machine which inserted fig paste into a thick pastry dough. Roser’s recipe was then purchased by Cambridgeport, Massachusetts-based Kennedy Biscuit Company and mass production began.  In 1891, the first Fig Newtons were baked at the F.A. Kennedy Steam Bakery.  The pastries are named after the town of Newton, Massachusetts.

Faith Based Events

Today is National Fig Newton Day, but don’t expect to be eating any Fig Newtons — at least of the Nabisco variety. That’s because Fig Newtons as you know them, as you grew up eating them out of the classic yellow box, no longer exist. They’re just “Newtons” now.

In 2012, Nabisco, which is now a subsidiary of Mondelēz International, decided to drop the “Fig” in “Fig Newton.” This isn’t the first time Newtons have undergone an identity crisis. According to The New York Times, the square cookies were called “cakes” up until the 1980s, at which point Nabisco started labeling them as “chewy cookies.” Dropping the “Fig” in 2012 was big news when it happened.

The New York Times wrote that Nabisco dropped the “Fig” in part because the brand had long sold other flavors, such as Strawberry. Nabisco also shed the “Fig” to stay relevant and appeal to a wider audience.

  • Fig Newtons were created in 1891 by the Kennedy Biscuit Works in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. They had named many of their other cookies for nearby towns, and almost called it the “Fig Shrewsbury” before Newton won out.
  • Alternate story, the man who originated the Fig Newton, Charles Roser put his cookie recipe to work in his factory in Kenton, Ohio, and sold out to Nabisco in 1910.
  • According to Nabisco:  “Fig Newtons were named after either Sir Isaac Newton or the town of Newton, Massachusetts.”
  • Fig Newtons were one of the first commercially baked products in America.
  • Fig Newtons are the 3rd most popular cookie in the U.S., over 1 billion are consumed each year.


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