Category Archives: Girl Scout Cookies

Move over Samoas, there’s a new Girl Scout cookie in town and it’s gluten-free!

It’s that time of year again. Whether you have a Girl Scout in your family, or in a co-worker’s family, or you’re being visited by a Girl Scout at your front door, you may very well be ordering a box (or two or five) of your favorite Girl Scout cookies.

About this time last year, FoodFacts.com took a look at the ingredient lists for a few different Girl Scout cookie varieties. We weren’t very excited by what we discovered and shared the facts with our community. We felt as though products branded by the Girl Scouts should be more conscious than your average cookie brand of the ingredients they choose to include in their confections. You can read the ingredient lists for Samoas and Tagalongs on our site.

Back in 2011, a New York mom whose daughter was a Girl Scout, started a petition to convince the organization to offer a gluten-free cookie option. She collected more than 12,000 signatures after the companies that make the cookies told her there was not enough of a market for a gluten-free version.

Fast forward to 2014 and all that has changed as the Girl Scouts introduce the Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie.

According to the website of ABC Bakers, a maker of Girl Scout Cookies, the Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie will be making its debut in 20 test markets this year. The gluten-free snacks will be available in some parts of Maryland, California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York and Wisconsin, among a handful of other states.

“ABC will conduct research during and after the sale to determine whether to go national with this cookie in the future since ABC Bakers is all about staying on the cutting edge, and bringing people what they want in today’s world,” the company’s website reads.

FoodFacts.com did a little digging and discovered that the new gluten-free Girl Scout cookie also carries a better ingredient list than its relatives, Samoas and Tagalongs. The Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie contains no partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup or artificial and natural flavorings.

This is undoubtedly great news for gluten-free Girl Scout cookie fans. But it’s also great news for all Girl Scout cookie aficionados who’d rather not consume the ingredients in some of the other, more popular options. When manufacturers (and organizations) listen to the voices of their consumer base, it usually results in better, healthier options for everyone. It makes their regular purchasers happy and it helps them acquire new customers as well. We all know the old saying, “the customer is always right.” Thanks for listening, Girl Scouts! Now you might want to get to work on some of the ingredient lists in the other cookie varieties everyone wants to love.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/girl-scouts-gluten-free-cookie_n_4690222.html

https://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/meet_the_cookies.asp

 

 

 

Are Girl Scout Cookies “doing a good turn” for American consumers?

FoodFacts.com has a question for our community … can you tell us what Partially Hydrogenated Oils, Artificial Flavors, Natural Flavors, Caramel Color, Sorbitol, Carrageenan and GMO ingredients have in common with Samoas, Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos and Dulce De Leches?

If your answer was these are the controversial ingredients found in our favorite Girl Scout Cookies, you were, sadly, 100% correct. And FoodFacts.com wanted to highlight that some of our favorite, traditional cookies from our nation’s premier non-profit organization for girls has some serious work to do to bring their branded cookies up to date with their decades’ old and admirable values.

Since 1912, the Girl Scouts’ slogan has been “Do a good turn daily.” The slogan is to stand as a reminder of the many ways girls can contribute positively to the lives of others. FoodFacts.com understands how the Girl Scouts shapes the lives of girls in our country positively, year after year. We just think that as an organization they should embody their own slogan and “Do a good turn daily” in the lives of others by insisting on the improvement of the ingredient lists on the cookie products that carry their logo.

During the first quarter of 2012, the Girl Scouts of the USA generated over $700 million in cookie sales. That’s enough cookies to make the non-profit the number three cookie company in the U.S. It’s a very impressive statistic and translates into the consumption of millions of Samoas (Caramel deLites), Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties) and Thin Mints. Depending on your location in the U.S., the Girl Scout Cookies you purchase are baked by either Little Brownie Bakers (a subsidiary of Keebler which is owned by Kellogg’s) or ABC Bakers (owned by George Weston Limited). Both companies are licensed by the Girl Scouts to produce the 11 varieties of cookies currently available (according to the Girl Scout Cookie website). The bakers can use different names for the cookies and there is no attempt to standardize the names between the bakeries at this juncture.

Unfortunately, the Girl Scouts organization has been petitioned a few times by concerned consumers regarding the ingredients their bakers are including in their branded cookies. They were urged to address the use of Hydrogenated Oils. Consumers have suggested that the use of Hydrogenated Oils (as well as other controversial items) is in direct conflict with the Girl Scouts efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle among their young members. In 2007, the Girl Scouts of the USA announced that all their cookies had less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving, which allowed them to meet the FDA requirements for “zero trans fat” labeling. While that’s an improvement, it certainly doesn’t change the idea that there are many, many consumers who aren’t stopping at one serving.

Artificial and Natural Flavors, as well as Caramel Color, Sorbitol and Carrageenan are common on many of the ingredient lists. In addition, consumers have petitioned the Girl Scouts to remove Genetically Modified ingredients from their cookies.

You can review the ingredient information and nutritional content for some of the most popular cookie varieties on our website. Click through for Samoas, Tagalongs and Thin Mints:

http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Coconut-Cookies/Girl-Scout-Cookies-Samoas-715/86461
http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Other-Cookies/Girl-Scout-Tagalongs-Cookies-15-cookies/86462
http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Chocolate-Flavored-Cookies/Girl-Scout-Cookies-Thin-Mints-8-oz/86460

FoodFacts.com believes in the mission of the Girl Scouts of the USA. We understand that they empower girls from a young age to be responsible, accountable citizens ready to take their place as productive adults in our society. And we are all for the idea of helping girls across our nation understand the importance of being willing to serve and do a job well. We also really love buying Girl Scout Cookies to help raise funds for this very worthy organization. But, we’d also love to see that organization take its own words to heart and improve the quality of the ingredients chosen for the cookies so many Americans are consuming each and every year.