Over 100 years later: Girl Scout cookies still a hit

By Jen Hirthe

NORTHEAST WISCONSIN — Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Samoas — to cookie-loving consumers across the country, the names are as familiar as their taste.

For more than 100 years, the Girl Scouts have held the famous annual cookie sale to financially support their annual activities.

From small bake sale to door-to-door to online ordering, the annual cookie sale has come a long way over the past century.

Girl Scout Cookie sales date back to 1917, just five years after Juliette Gordon Low launched the organization in the United States.

The Mistletoe Troupe in Muskogee, Oklahoma baked cookies and sold them in their high school cafeteria as a service project.

The concept caught on.

Over the next decade, troops across the country began baking their own sugar cookies, wrapping them in waxed paper bags, sealing them with a sticker, and selling them door-to-door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen.

In 1951, Girl Scout cookies came in three varieties: sandwich, shortbread, and mint chocolate.

Within five years, the options have changed again, now offering four flavors – a vanilla filled cookie, chocolate filled, shortbread and mint chocolate.

By 1966, the varieties nearly doubled — top sellers included mint chocolate cookies, shortbread, and peanut butter sandwich cookies.

In 1979, the brand new Girl Scout logo created by Saul Bass appeared on cookie jars, which became even more creative and promoted the benefits of Girl Scouting.

Girl Scout cookies for sale in the 1970s included Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos, and Shortbread/Trefoils cookies, along with four additional choices.

In the early 1990s, two licensed bakers provided local Girl Scout councils with cookies to sell for girls, and by 1998 that number had risen to three.

At that time, eight varieties of cookies were available, including low-fat and sugar-free selections.

Girl Scouts of USA (GSUSA) also introduced official age-appropriate rewards for Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors, Cadets, and Seniors, including the Cookie Activity Pin, which was awarded for participating in the sale. of cookies.

In 2014, GSUSA launched the Digital Cookies Platform, expanding the reach of Scouts’ sales capabilities.

Missy Brozek, director of brand and communications for Girl Scouts Northwest Great Lakes, said the online program also helps teach Scouts about online marketing, app usage and e-commerce.

“While cookies and the process of selling cookies have evolved over the years, the fundamental life skills are strong and unchanged,” Brozek said. “The Girl Scout Cookie program encompasses five important skills – goal setting, decision making, money management, interpersonal skills, and business ethics.”

She said her daughter is in her ninth year as a Girl Scout and loves planning how her cookie funds will be used to fund a camp adventure, community service project and Girl Scout program or trip.

Valerie Hogue, Green Bay troop leader and mother of her own Girl Scout, said the most impactful change she’s seen in the seven years she’s been involved in is the ability to take credit cards /debit.

“Whether it’s an individual girl delivering her cookies to her customers or the troop selling cookies at a cookie stand, it allows us to reach a group of customers who previously couldn’t buy the cookies” , Hogue said. “We are also now using online marketing, such as social media, to advertise to expand our customer base.”

Pandemic challenges

Girl Scout Cookie sales have not been immune to the difficulties that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought – by eliminating door-to-door sales scouts that scouts are known for.

Brozek said that leaves troops looking for other options.

She said this is where the digital platform has made great strides.

“Last year, Girl Scouts increased their online sales by 163%,” Brozek said. “We expect it to continue to grow throughout this year as well. This season, Girl Scouts are again selling cookies in a creative, socially distant and contactless way to keep themselves and their customers safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

She said scouts will be holding outdoor cookie stands that will follow local, state and CDC guidelines.

And after?

In 2022, a new cookie is appearing on Girl Scout cookie order forms.

Adventurefuls is a brownie-inspired cookie topped with crème caramel and a hint of sea salt.

The Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes cookie program continues through April 3.

Those interested in getting their hands on some can visit girlscouts.org/en/cookies.html# for more information.

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