Limited Edition Swedish Fish Oreos Selling for Big Money on eBay

Oreo Swedish Fish
Oreo Swedish Fish are selling for 3-4 times retail on eBay. Pinterest

It happens every time a well-known food product comes out with a weird or wacky flavor. eBay sellers buy a stockpile of a limited edition flavor and list it on eBay to see what the market will bear. In the past, it has happened with all kinds of limited edition flavored foods including:

  • Pop Tarts
  • Dunkin Donuts Coffee
  • M&Ms (notably, coconut M&Ms)
  • Krusteaz Baking Mixes
  • Andes Candies
  • Keurig K-Cups
  • Pillsbury, Duncan Hines, and Betty Crocker Cake Mixes
  • Coffee Mate and International Delight coffee creamer (powdered)
  • Cereal

Why Swedish Fish Flavor?

In the past, Nabisco has created some unusual Oreo combinations including banana split, birthday cake, candy corn, key lime pie, cotton candy, peppermint, rainbow sherbet, and mint. This time, it is Oreo's Swedish Fish flavored cookies. The chocolate cookie on the outside is the traditional Oreo, but the filling is red and Swedish Fish flavored. (Swedish Fish is a gummy type candy, similar to licorice.) This is definitely a bizarre combination. Business Insider reported on August 12, 2016:

"We know that consumers enjoy variety when it comes to snacking, so we create all of our limited-edition flavors to provide surprising new twists people know and love, and, on occasion, create unexpected and unique flavor combinations that people may never have thought were possible," an Oreo spokesperson stated."

Why Do People Pay More than Retail for Limited Edition Foods?

eBay is its own little universe. Actually, it is a huge universe, but the rules are different than in regular retail stores. When an item is limited in number, it becomes more valuable. This all goes back to the basic law of supply and demand:

"The law of supply states that the quantity of a good supplied (i.e., the amount owners or producers offer for sale) rises as the market price rises, and falls as the price falls. Conversely, the law of demand says that the quantity of a good demanded falls as the price rises, and vice versa." EconLib.Org

Sellers have learned over the years to pay attention to limited edition food products and flip them on eBay for a profit. The first question many people unfamiliar with eBay ask about this phenomenon is: 

"Why would someone pay more for something than the retail price?"

There are actually several reasons why people pay more than retail for something on eBay:

  1. It is not available in their geographic area. With the Swedish Fish Oreos, the Kroger family of supermarkets is the only store selling them. Plenty of buyers won't live near a Kroger or won't want to drive to one that is too far away just to buy a package of cookies.
  2. They are not price sensitive. Maybe someone just wants to try a bizarre or unusual food and says, "What the heck!" and orders it online. People pay big money to try a novelty item.
  3. They are buying the item as a gift. Nothing makes a more fun or memorable birthday or holiday gift than an unusual limited edition item. 
  1. They don't want the hassle of finding the item locally. Have you ever been on a wild goose chase trying to find an item and every store you visit is out of stock? Or maybe you have 3 kids and don't want to haul them around while you search for an elusive item. Ordering online is quick, easy, and the item arrives at your door in a couple of days. For convenience, many shoppers choose to pay more for something online than to spend their valuable time tracking it down locally.

Sell During the Optimal Time Window

High prices on limited edition items won't last. There is an optimal window to get the most bang for your buck. The perfect storm includes:

  • A market that isn't saturated with too much of the item
  • Timeframe before the item expires (eBay does not allow listings for expired food)
  • Competitive enough market where buyers will pay your price

    If you are thinking about running out to a Kroger and buying a bunch of Swedish Fish Oreos to sell, think long and hard about what you have to lose. Some of the eBay listings for these cookies show an expiration date of January 2017, so these may be a good seller for Christmas. Or, many other sellers may read this article and flood the market so the price will decline. 

    While eBay shows completed listings for up to $18.50 a package plus shipping, this price won't last.

    Reviews for Swedish Fish Oreos

    The reviews for Swedish Fish Oreos aren't very good, so they may not be a hot seller like some of the other limited edition flavors. Reviews are always something to consider when selling a food product because you may spend money on inventory and it might not sell. While nothing is guaranteed in life, paying attention to reviews can save you money and prevent waste in your business. Here are a few reviews for this product:

    • The Impulsive Buy: "This creme isn’t perfectly pillowy, soft, and squishy. It’s a little more sticky, chewy, and dare I say…slimy. It cracks and falls apart like a child’s Play-Doh diorama of the Berlin Wall, and each Oreo I opened contained a different Rorschach test image in its pasty folds."
    • CBS Detroit: Quite frankly, these were way worse that I was imagining. The first cookie was OK, the second one was hard to choke down and I had to stop eating the third one. I even tried dipping one in milk, which made it slightly more edible but it was still hard to swallow.
    • Thrillist: Taking a bite of the cookie, the Swedish Fish flavor wasn't front and center. I only got chocolate in the finish. And if I thought it smelled like cough syrup in my kitchen a minute ago, after I ate a cookie, I couldn't get the cough syrup taste out of my mouth.

    Bottom Line

    Based on the reviews, you might want to pass on this limited edition item. Oreos are usually $4 a package regular price and there is no guarantee they will sell for any price. You may be left with a stockpile of inedible cookies to give out as Christmas presents this year.