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Why Otis Spunkmeyer is America’s Favorite Cookie Dough

By Clay Boggess on Jul 10, 2021
Why Otis Spunkmeyer is America’s Favorite Cookie Dough

A food legacy with a rich history to enjoy.

Did you know "Otis Spunkmeyer" was not a real person? The name can be credited to the company founder's daughter, aged 12 at the time, who combined the names Otis Sistrunk with Orville Redenbacher (the founder's inspiration) to arrive at the brand name known and loved today.

That's right; it was Ken Rawling's daughter who joined two words together and at least deserves credit for this now famous phrase that we all associate with 'cookie dough'.

Otis Sistrunk was a National Football League pro who played for the Oakland Raiders. And Orville Redenbacher? Well, there is another great example of a food legacy.

From an Idea to Decades of Distribution

Brand recognition has a powerful influence over the food choices we make. Americans know and love trusted, reliable, and recognizable brands. Name brands with a good story also tug at our heartstrings. Many rags-to-riches stories about an entrepreneur with a great idea have helped shape our vision of the American Dream.

Several such entrepreneurs, and those who have followed in their footsteps, have made a lasting mark on the food industry and been welcomed into countless homes, leaving legacies behind that carry on through the decades. As an iconic brand of our lifetime, Otis Spunkmeyer has a rich history of supporting our youth and producing superior snacks.

The History of Otis Spunkmeyer

The Otis Spunkmeyer company has been alive and thriving for over 40 years. Ken Rawlings, the company's founder, opened the first Otis Spunkmeyer cookie store in 1977 in Oakland, California, after being inspired by the delicious smell of freshly baked cookies in a local shopping mall.

The son of a basketball coach and a schoolteacher, Rawlings came from humble beginnings with a desire to give back to the community through hard work and perseverance.

Fun Fact: Despite his passion for basketball, Rawlings was not associated with the famed Rawlings Sporting Goods brand.

Driven by an initial vision to earn a living by baking wonderful cookies, how much the company grew and evolved may be a surprise. A short two years after launching, Rawlings established the first cookie dough manufacturing facility, and the brand took off from there.

Otis Spunkmeyer was already selling to 20 cookie stores throughout California when it pivoted to cookie dough and wholesale operations.

Fun Fact: By the end of the 1980s, over 40,000 restaurants, delis, cafeterias and hospitals were serving freshly baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies.

Gaining national attention, the much-loved frozen cookie dough was brought into grocery store chains and retailers for the first time in 1990, setting a new standard for high-quality cookie dough and meeting the need for greater convenience.

Just 15 years after its inception, Otis Spunkmeyer went international by adding Mexico and England. Today, the much-loved brand can be found throughout North America.

Ken Rawlings, the man behind the brand, infused fun and service into the company's culture. From replacing basketball nets at local schools to setting up a gym and daycare for his valued employees, Ken was a great man in many ways, with a charitable heart and an eye for long-term success. Passing in 2017 at 84, Ken has left a legacy in his wake.

Charice Grace, the company's brand director, perhaps said it best in this 2017 article, "What we say about Otis Spunkmeyer is that we're fun. We're retro. We're witty. […] That's how we were established, and it's how we continue — in a fun way."

The Otis Spunkmeyer Brand is in Good Company

More than cookies and cookie dough, Otis Spunkmeyer's efforts to branch out over the years have contributed to the company's success. The company even put two vintage DC-3s into service in the late 80s to provide tourists and residents with sky tours of the San Francisco Bay area. But most of the company's endeavors have focused on providing edible enjoyment.

Otis Spunkmeyer Muffins were introduced in 1990 with the acquisition of the Sweet Happenings muffin company, and then, eight years later, Otis Spunkmeyer Danishes and Otis Spunkmeyer Brownies were introduced. From classic chocolate chip cookies to iced lemon loaves and hearty blueberry muffins, Otis Spunkmeyer's commitment to quality and unparalleled taste do not disappoint.

Otis Spunkmeyer Product Popularity

Here's a current list of Otis Spunkmeyer products that people are searching for on Google:

Product Search Volume
Otis Spunkmeyer Muffins 6,600
Otis Spunkmeyer Cookies 5,400
Otis Spunkmeyer Cookie Dough 4400
Otis Spunkmeyer Blueberry Muffins 880
Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip Cookies 880
Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Muffins 720
Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip Muffins 590

SEMRush states, "Search volume is the average number of times a specific query is entered in a search engine per month."

Otis Spunkmeyer Market Penetration

Responding to growing market opportunities, in 2016, Otis Spunkmeyer significantly expanded its market penetration. While Otis Spunkmeyer cookies have been a consumer favorite for 35 years, traditionally, they had only ever been offered through the company's food service channel.

Again, the company would pivot, ensuring throughput to retail growth channels. They now offer an array of over 20 treats in grocery chains, enabling the brand's fans to indulge in their exceptional products anytime and anywhere.

Only the Good Stuff

It doesn't get any better than Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough, thanks to the company's "no funky stuff" (NFS) promise. NFS means all the flavor, richness, and satisfaction without questionable ingredients. The company wanted its snacks to be tasty while offering a better option than competitors, so they set out to remove the "funky stuff" you'll find in many other snacks.

This commitment to quality continues to set Otis Spunkmeyer products apart from the competition. You can rest assured that none of Otis Spunkmeyer's products contain any high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, or artificial flavors.

Otis Spunkmeyer's cookie dough is Orthodox Union Dairy Kosher Certified with 0 grams of trans-fat.

For proof that quality ingredients make all the difference, watch Otis Spunkmeyer's blind taste test here.

Cookie Dough Fundraising with Otis Spunkmeyer

For information on where to buy Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough, look no further than Big Fundraising Ideas' own Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough fundraiser. Given the founder's focus on giving back to the community and carving paths for families and youth to raise money for great causes, it's no surprise that Otis Spunkmeyer cookies are a leading fundraiser for youth organizations, sports teams, and schools nationwide.

Fun Fact: According to Otis Spunkmeyer, the bestselling varieties of cookie dough for fundraising are chocolate chip (an all-time favorite among gourmet fundraising products) followed by white chocolate macadamia nut.

Going to grade school in America means you will likely cross paths with an Otis Spunkmeyer fundraiser. The company's cookie dough consistently produces results for schools, students, and team members. Not only is cookie dough a leading social media inquiry for Otis Spunkmeyer, but it is also a leading fundraiser at Big Fundraising Ideas.

Regarding Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough, you aren't just selling a product; you are fundraising with a reputable, genuinely philanthropy-focused brand that continues to support our nation's youth.


"One of the best things about fundraising with Otis is how much of the money comes back to the school, but it's not the only reason we love Otis Spunkmeyer cookies. People are excited to stock up because there are so many choices, and the individually frozen product is so easy to use. 'Having a food product and brand that people want, backed by a team that goes above and beyond to support our campaigns, makes us a fundraising machine!'" – Westhill High School

"It is hard to raise money with so many different organizations competing for every donation dollar. It's great to know we're sending our Scouts out with a product that practically sells itself. […] Our Scouts and leaders love that Otis Spunkmeyer's fundraising returns such a high percentage of profit back to the sellers, so we can meet our fundraising goals faster and not have to run as many fundraisers throughout the year. It's great to know that we're working with a company everyone recognizes and sells a product people want." – Boy Scout Troop 151's Committee Chair.

Fun Fact: Did you know that teams selling Otis Spunkmeyer products earn 40% profit with a low average cost of $20 per product?


Big Fundraising Ideas proudly features nine top-selling Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough flavors for school and organization fundraisers nationwide. As one of the most popular fundraising choices, Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough remains in high demand thanks to the company's charitable character and its products' extraordinary quality and taste. Big Fundraising Ideas has been helping groups fundraise since 1999.

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Author Bio Clay Boggess, Author

Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.

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