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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookie season is going strong. Girl Scout Cookies have been around for a long time and cookie fans probably already know that Thin Mints have long been the most popular flavor. But you might be surprised by what you don’t know about Girl Scout Cookies, and these 10 pieces of cookie trivia will make a great accompaniment to the next box of cookies that you open.

1. Girl Scout Cookies were first sold in 1917. They were baked from scratch by individual scouts.

2. In 1936, the cookies had become so popular that the Girl Scouts moved to commercial bakeries to produce their cookies. Keebler Bakery became the first commercial baker of Girl Scout Cookies. By 1978, four different companies were producing the cookies.

3. Currently, there are two bakeries that produce the cookies, ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. Little Brownie Bakers is a division of Keebler, which is why you see Keebler Girl Scout look-a-likes on grocery shelves during the off-season. ABC Bakers is owned by Interbake Foods.

Girl Scout Cookie Bakeries

4. The two bakeries that produce Girl Scout Cookies call their cookies by different names and they use different recipes. The names are a good way to tell which bakery is producing your cookies. ABC’s cookies include Caramel de Lites, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Shortbreads. Little Brownie Bakers cookies’ include Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos and Trefoils.

5. One of the two bakeries, ABC Bakers, produces four completely vegan cookie varieties: Lemonades, Thanks-A-Lot, Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties. Thin Mints produced by Little Brownie Bakers are also vegan, but their Do-Si-Dos (which look just like Peanut Butter Patties) are not.

6. Most of the revenue from cookie sales goes to local Girl Scout councils, not necessarily directly to the individual troops selling the cookies. The councils, in turn, sponsor a variety of programs for Scouts to participate in and they offer financial assistance to girls and troops who could otherwise no afford to participate in such events. Roughly 10-15% of sales goes straight to the individual troops that you buy your cookies from.

Thin Mints Box

7. 25% of all Girl Scout Cookies sold are Thin Mints. The second most popular cookie are Samoas, or Caramel de Lites, which account for 19% of sales.

8. Leftover and unsold Girl Scout cookies are difficult to dispose of. It’s hard for a council to predict how many boxes they might sell in a season. The official word from the Girl Scouts is that individual councils are “encouraged to work with local food pantries” but those leftover cookies sometimes end up in landfills instead.

9. 2014 was the first year that the Girl Scouts offered a gluten free cookie option, though it was only offered in some regions to see how it fared compared to traditional cookies with Girl Scout Cookie fans. The cookies met with mixed success and were discontinued, but the Girl Scouts subsequently launched two additional gluten free flavors that met with more positive reviews.
retired Girl Scout Cookies10. More than 30 different varieties of Girl Scout Cookies have been retired over the years, usually because they were not very popular with consumers or because their ingredients made them prohibitively expensive to produce.

(Updated 1/15/2016 to include new cookie information)

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  • Stephen
    March 11, 2014

    It’s really sad that the girls are all encouraged to do projects on sustainability and recycle and they throw so many unsold cookies in the landfill.

  • Yang
    March 12, 2014

    This was a really great, informative post. Thanks for sharing. My favorite cookie has always been the Lemon Chalet Creme, and that first picture is a painful reminder that they were discontinued. Although I know Oreo now has a lemon creme-filled cookie that I need to try.

  • Tricia
    March 13, 2014

    Lemon Pastry Cremes were my favorites but were discontinued. I don’t really like the other cookies. The Girl Scouts has changed a lot over the years & not for the good.

  • Number 8 is blasphemy! How can they do that?!

    Great post. Really informative and interesting. I always wondered how Keebler could get away with those knock offs.

  • Tricia
    April 4, 2014

    I do believe you should send all extra cookies not sold to our troops and food pantries why just dump them in landfills when someone that has nothing would enjoy and for our troops who are fighting for us they would love something different

  • Karen
    March 3, 2016

    Lemon Pastry Cremes were definitely the best!!!

    Also Tagalongs are the other version of the peanut butter patties.

    Now at least I know why my cookie names have changed! I sold them in the 80’s in Montana, but they change the names and I couldn’t figure out why!

  • Shannon Poorvin
    February 8, 2017

    Girl Scouts now send cookies to the military overseas and VA hospitals at the end of the season. Our council does a buy 5 drawing to win a year supply of cookies in 5 counties and they sell them in the council stores all year. We do not send cookies to the landfill.

  • […] 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Girl Scout Cookies. Sadly, I’m no stranger to item number 10. My favorite Lemon Chalet Cremes were retired a few […]

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