It is a 50 degree Saturday in March and it is time to pick up a few groceries from the local grocery store. It’s simple enough, or so you would think, to only get what you need and not buy a load of junk food. As you are walking to the entrance, you stop dead in your tracks and see the bright table and sign displaying the Girl Scout Cookies you all of a sudden desperately need. How could you possibly say no to a little girl selling cookies?
I was a Girl Scout kindergarten through fifth grade until all three of our group leaders quit and left us without any adults wanting to be in charge of 15 elementary school girls with high energy.
Girl Scouts certainly taught me many valuable lessons, such as helping out my community, serving others, leading a loving life and many more. I still have our pledge memorized that we said every month at our meetings after school.
And you better believe I was out walking door-to-door in my neighborhood trying my best to sell as many cookies as I could to win prizes back in the day.
The iconic cookies are sold January through April, but are most commonly seen sold in March and April when the weather is nicer. More than 200 million boxes of Girl Scout Cookies are produced and purchased each year, according to Wide Open Eats.
When I was a Girl Scout, cookies cost $3.50 per box, but now they have been raised to a whopping $5. This is over a 40% increase in price.
According to The Cold Wire, the cookies are made by outside companies that are hired by the Girl Scouts. The two commercial bakers licensed by Girl Scouts to produce cookies are ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.
Almost all of Wisconsin besides a little part of the Southeast has their cookies produced by ABC Bakers. Not only do the names differ between the two producers, but there is a difference in sizes of cookies, designs of cookies, as well as different cookies and tastes all together.
ABC Bakers is known for these cookies: Thin Mints, Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Thanks-a-Lot, Shortbread, Lemonades and S’mores. Little Brownie Bakers is known for these cookies: Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Savannah Smiles and a few other less common cookies.
Since these cookies have been around for so many years (in 2017, they hit their 100-year anniversary), anyone can easily find knock-off recipes online. The issue with this is that people do not want to take the time to bake them, so that contributes to greater sales. It is a convenience factor of being able to purchase them already made.
On the other hand, there are dupes of Girl Scout Cookies at nearly any grocery store. Walmart’s “Great Value” brand sells Fudge Mint cookies, which are like Thin Mints; Caramel Coconut & Fudge, which are like Caramel deLites; and Fudge Covered Peanut Butter, which are like Peanut Butter Patties. The flavors are identical in my opinion.
Aldi’s brand “Benton’s” also has extremely similar cookies nearly identical to Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties. Both these and the “Great Value” brand are only a small fraction of the cost of actual Girl Scout Cookies and they are available year-round.
Try out those cookies and see if they compare. If they do not live up to your standards, go back to purchasing the name brand. The money Girl Scout troops earn from selling cookies are used for individual projects and projects around communities. No money is going to waste.
Whether Girl Scouts continue to raise their prices or not, one thing is certain: Americans love the cookies and will continue to purchase them. Let the debates continue on which cookie reigns supreme.