Frequently Asked Questions
Buying Girl Scout Cookies
Selling Girl Scout Cookies
Buying Girl Scout Cookies
When do Girl Scout Cookies go on sale and how do I find them?
Girl Scout Cookies can be purchased only from girls and only during cookie season. Girl Scouts Heart of the South's Cookie Program starts on January 9, 2016 with Girl Scouts taking pre-orders for cookies. On February 26, 2016 Girl Scouts will begin booths sales in front of your favorite stores. To find a cookie booth near you visit www.girlscoutcookies.com
and enter your zip code. This will pull up cookies booths near you and give you dates, times and locations.
You can also try our new free mobile Cookie Finder app for your iPhone® or Android® phone. You can search for cookie sales in your neighborhood, get details on your favorite Girl Scout Cookies and link to cookies in social media.
Selling Girl Scout Cookies is an important component of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience for girls. We only conducts one Cookie Program per year so we appreciate your support tremendously!
Can I buy Girl Scout Cookies online?
YES! Through Digital Cookies, the web-based platform for Girl Scouts which creates a fun,
safe, and interactive space for girls to sell cookies. This revolutionary
enhancement adds a digital layer that expands and strengthens the ways
girls learn the essential "5 Skills" of goal setting, decision making,
money management, people skills, and business ethics. Customers have the option to have Girl Scout Cookies delivered, with parental permission, or have them shipped straight to their door. Customers are also able to pay online with credit or debit cards.
Customers must order through a Girl Scout. There is not a public site to order Girl Scout Cookies direct from councils and bakers.
Cookies found for sale online at auction and community list sites should not be purchased under any circumstances,
as neither GSUSA, Girl Scouts Heart of the South, nor our licensed bakers can guarantee the freshness or origination of these cookies. Further, purchasing cookies in this way does not support girls' participating in the cookie program.
Why are the gluten free Toffee-tastic $5?
Producing a gluten free product requires specialized production methods and ingredients, this increase the overall cost to produce a gluten free cookie. Toffee-tastics will be available only to troops at cookie cupboards and to the general public at cookie booths and on the Digital Order Card.
Why are Girl Scout Cookies available only for a short time?
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the premier entrepreneurship opportunity for girls, but it is just one part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Girl Scouts participate in many activities throughout the year and work on many projects. Cookies are just one of those activities. And because only girls may sell Girl Scout Cookies, their market availability is limited to the 6 to 8-week period when they are engaged in the program.
Where does my money go when I buy Girl Scout Cookies?
With every purchase, approximately 70% of the proceeds stays right here in the Girl Scouts Heart of the South. A portion of the proceeds go to troops to fun activities, community service projects, travel, camp and more. These proceeds also fund council programming, volunteer training, property and camp management and more. See the exact breakdown of the $4 in the How the Cookie Crumbles report. The remaining 30% goes to the baker to pay for the cookies.
Does any of the money from cookie sales go to Girl Scouts of the USA (the national Girl Scouts organization)?
Yes and No. Girl Scouts of the USA is paid a royalty for use of the licensed trademarks by its licensed bakers based on gross annual sales volume. Girl Scout councils do not provide any portion of their cookie revenue to Girl Scouts of the USA, and no other revenue from cookie sales goes to Girl Scouts of the USA. Girl Scouts of the USA provides contractual services and approves all program, marketing, and sales materials developed by the bakers. GSUSA also provides coordination and training for national media, safety standards for girls and volunteers, our world-renowned girl-leadership program, and full support during cookie season.
How does cookie revenue benefit girls?
All the revenue earned from cookie activities—every penny after paying the baker—stays with the local Girl Scout council that sponsors the sale. This includes the portion that goes directly to the group selling cookies. Councils use cookie revenue to supply essential services to troops, groups, and individual girls, such as providing program resources and communication support, training adult volunteers, and conducting events.
What portion of the cookie revenue is shared with the troop selling cookies?
We invite you to look at the How the Cookie Crumbles report to see exactly where the money for a box of Girl Scout Cookies goes.
Is my purchase of Girl Scout Cookies tax-deductible?
No and yes.
- No, if you keep the cookies. If you buy Girl Scout Cookies and take the cookies home (to consume them), you've purchased a product at a fair market value. For this reason, no part of the price of a package of Girl Scout Cookies used in this way is tax-deductible.
- Yes, if you leave the cookies with Girl Scouts as a donation. Many Girl Scouts ask customers to pay for one or more packages of cookies for use in their Take-Action project or "gift of caring." Customers not receiving Girl Scout Cookies don't benefit directly from paying for them, so those individuals may treat the purchase price of the donated cookies as a charitable contribution. Additionally, customers may wish to donate cookies they have purchased from a Girl Scout to another qualified organization, which may qualify as a donation to the organization receiving the cookies and may therefore be tax-deductible.
Does any part of the cookie revenue go to support organizations other than Girl Scouts?
No. None of the money earned from any Girl Scout council-sponsored cookie sale is given to any other group.
This does not preclude girls from spending their money locally on program related activities, such as paying their own way to a community event or museum or funding other programmatic outings. Girls may also choose to use money earned through product activities to purchase materials for a Take-Action project to benefit the community.
All the revenue from all Girl Scout Cooke Program supports the local Girl Scout council where the cookies are sold, including a portion that goes directly to the group selling cookies. The purpose of selling cookies is to help girls develop a wide range of skills and generate revenue to support Girl Scouting locally.
Girl Scout Cookies can be found in some popular ice cream treats. Can any business use Girl Scout Cookies in their products?
Girl Scouts of the USA has national licensing agreements with selected companies to include Girl Scout Cookies in their products. Girl Scouts of the USA is the only entity who may enter into such an agreement. At the point an agreement is reached, our licensed bakers have the opportunity to work directly with companies to provide cookies in bulk. For further information about rules and regulations relating to the Girl Scout brand, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
. Business inquiries regarding the use of Girl Scout Cookies in products should be directed to email@example.com
What if I'm not satisfied with my Girl Scout Cookies?
You may contact Little Brownie Bakers directly at 800.962.1718 with your concerns or comments about Girl Scout Cookies. If your cookies are damaged, please contact your local Girl Scout council office where volunteers or staff at the council will be glad to help you.
How can I be sure my Girl Scout Cookies are fresh?
Every Girl Scout Cookie package is stamped with a seasonal "Use or freeze by" date. That date corresponds with each cookie season. This means that Girl Scout Cookies with a date of September 2015 were baked for the 2014–2015 season.
What are the sizes, quantities, and prices of Girl scout Cookies?
Girl Scout Cookies are sold by weight, not by size or number. The number and size of cookies vary by variety and by baker.
Packages of Girl Scout Cookies sell for different prices in different areas of the country. Each of the 112 local Girl Scout councils has the right to set its own price, based on its needs and knowledge of the local market. Today's prices reflect both the current cost of cookies and the realities of providing Girl Scout activities in an ever-changing economic environment. To find out which local council serves your area use the Find Cookies! search box above.
Who bakes Girl Scout Cookies?
Currently, two commercial bakers are licensed by Girl Scouts of the USA to produce Girl Scout Cookies: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.
Why are my Caramel DeLites now called a Samoas? Why are my Trefoils now called Shortbread?
Each Girl Scout council chooses a licensed baker, either Little Brownie Bakers or ABC Bakers, and each baker uses different names for its cookies. So a cookie may be called Trefoils when baked by one baker and Shortbread when baked by the other. The two cookies may look and taste similar, but the name of the cookie is dependent on the baker. The exception is Thin Mints, which is a name shared by both bakers.
Why aren’t Mango Cremes
with NutriFusion™ being sold in our council?
There are two licensed
bakers of Girl Scout Cookies: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. Our
baker is Little Brownie Bakers, which does not offer this product. Mango Cremes
with NutriFusion™ is being sold only in councils served by ABC Bakers.
What cookies are baked by
Little Brownie Bakers?
Little Brownie bakes the
following brand-name cookies: Thin Mints, Samoas®, Tagalongs®, Do-si-dos®,
Trefoils, Savannah Smiles™, our new Rah Rah Raisins and Toffee-tastic, our new gluten free cookie available online and at booth sales.
Does Little Brownie have
a new cookie?
Yes! We are super excited to introduce Rah Rah Raisin! A delicious new Girl Scout cookie joins the lineup this
year, Rah-Rah Raisins is a crispy oatmeal cookie loaded with plump
raisins and Greek yogurt flavored chunks. This cookie is sure to be a
And, the Toffee-tastic, a gluten-free
rich buttery cookies packed with golden toffee bits bursting with
flavor. Girl Scout customers don’t need to choose between great taste
and gluten-free. Toffee-tastic Girl Scout Cookies make everyone happy!
Why have I seen Mango Cremes with NutriFusion™ shown on TV news programs, alongside Little Brownie’s
Samoas and Tagalongs cookies?
Members of the media are
not always aware there are two bakers serving Girl Scouts and that the bakers
offer different cookies.
If my council is served
by Little Brownie, why have Mango Cremes with NutriFusion™ been on sale in
areas very close to me?
In some areas of the
country, two Girl Scout councils may be located very near each other but be
served by different bakers.
How do I find out the ingredients, nutritional value, and allergen information for one or more of Girl Scout Cookie varieties?
So that consumers can make an informed choice, the ingredients, nutritional profile, and allergen information of each variety are clearly listed on both the cookie package and the cookie order form. Additionally, this information is available at Meet the Cookies
. With special regard to allergen concerns, our bakers bake Girl Scout Cookies in state-of-the-art facilities, and you can be assured that every required safety protocol is adhered to in order to prevent cross contamination of ingredients. The bakers stand behind the allergen notifications listed on each package of cookies. Consumers with additional concerns may contact the baker directly at www.littlebrownie.com
Who selects Girl Scout Cookie varieties?
The licensed bakers can offer up to eight varieties of Girl Scout Cookies; only three types are mandatory: Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-Si-Dos, and Shortbread/Trefoils. The national Girl Scout organization reviews and approves the varieties proposed by the bakers. Any of the five optional cookies can be changed every year. Each bakery names its own cookies, so Girl Scout Cookies that are quite similar may have different names.
To see a listing of all current varieties of Girl Scout Cookies along with pictures and descriptions, go to Meet the Cookies.
Are all Girl Scout Cookies kosher?
Yes. All Girl Scout Cookies are kosher.
What are the bestselling Girl Scout Cookies?
The biggest sellers are:
Where can I find recipes using Girl Scout Cookies?
Check out the Web sites of Little Brownie Bakers
. Also visit www.pinterest.com/GSUSA
to find and share recipes.
Who are the girls on the Girl Scout Cookie boxes?
All the girls pictured on the packages are registered Girl Scouts. Every package shows Girl Scouts in action and working on real Take-Action projects
Are any preservatives used in Girl Scout Cookies?
No. Girl Scout Cookies do not contain any added preservatives.
Do Girl Scout Cookies have trans fats?
Girl Scouts of the USA is proud that all Girl Scout Cookies are "zero trans fat per serving" with the same great taste that has made them one of America's favorite treats over the years. All varieties contain less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving, which meets or exceeds the FDA guidelines for the "zero trans fat" designation. Selected varieties can claim 100% trans-fat-free status, meaning there's not a speck of trans fats in the whole package. For a list of specific cookie ingredients, please see Meet the Cookies.
Is high fructose corn syrup used in Girl Scout Cookies?
Little Brownie Bakers use a variety of ingredients in the production of Girl Scout Cookies, including, in some cookies, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Our baker has indicated that HCFS is a specifically helpful ingredient in the browning process, and helps cookies retain freshness. For those cookies where HFCS is used, our baker indicates that it is a key ingredient in ensuring the quality of the cookie.
As leaders in the baking industry, we trust our baker to develop recipes using ingredients that will produce the best quality, best-tasting cookies while simultaneously address industry trends, scientific trends, and of course, consumer preference. For a list of specific cookie ingredients, please see Meet the Cookies.
Why is palm oil in Girl Scout Cookies?
Palm oil is an ingredient found in the majority of baked snacks sold in the United States. GSUSA's licensed bakers tell us it continues to be necessary to use palm oil in our cookies to ensure shelf life, to bring you the highest quality, and to serve as an alternative to trans fats. One of the primary goals of our Girl Scout Cookie baker is to create the best-tasting cookies possible using the healthiest ingredients available. While we continue to explore other alternatives, at this time, there are no viable or readily available alternatives on the market.
The world's food supply is intricately tied to the use of palm oil, so we believe promoting sustainable manufacturing principles is the most responsible approach for Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Cookies. Girl Scouts has an opportunity to use our strong voice to bring about positive change on this very important issue, and GSUSA and our bakers have made the following commitments:
- GSUSA and our licensed bakers are members of—and our bakers source palm oil exclusively from—members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization of growers, buyers, manufacturers, conservationists, and interested parties, who are striving to develop and follow best practices to ensure sustainability.
- GSUSA and our licensed bakers have made a substantial investment in GreenPalm certificates. The certificates purchased by our bakers cover 100% of the palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies. The certificates offer a premium price to palm-oil producers who are operating within the guidelines for social, environmental, and economic responsibility set by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil.
- GSUSA and our licensed bakers join other industry leaders in making a pledge to move to a segregated, certified sustainable palm oil source by 2015, based on market availability.
- GSUSA and our licensed bakers are committed to using as little palm oil as possible in Girl Scout Cookies and have committed to continued research into viable alternatives. Please visit www.littlebrownie.com to read more on the bakers' published statements and positions on palm oil.
American palm oil use represents approximately 2% of total global consumption, and palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies represents a tiny fraction of that. Thanks to the encouragement of and partnership from Girl Scout members, we and our bakers have realized the power of the Girl Scout brand to make a positive difference in the move toward sustainably produced palm oil.
What is that GreenPalm logo on the side of the Girl Scout Cookie package?
The GreenPalm logo on the Girl Scout Cookie package signifies a commitment by Girl Scouts and our licensed bakers with regard to developing a worldwide supply of sustainable palm oil. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to assure a fully sustainable supply in the quantities required by our bakers. So the GreenPalm investment supports farmers' initiatives to become sustainable. Our ability to put the GreenPalm logo on the cookie package provides assurance to consumers and our members that our bakers have purchased enough GreenPalm certificates to offset 100% of the palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies.
Are Girl Scout Cookies "sustainable"?
Sustainability refers to social, environmental, and economic factors that an organization addresses in order to provide value not only to consumers, but also to the world. Girl Scouts are very proud of the initiatives that are reported on annually by our licensed baker in terms of their corporate sustainability and social responsibility. The Girl Scout commitment to "make the world a better place" is a tenet we take very seriously.
Does the chocolate used in Girl Scout Cookies come from cacao beans picked by children?
Our licensed baker continues to work with their primary chocolate suppliers and with the Chocolate Manufacturer's Association (CMA)—of which both licensed bakers are members—on issues of slavery and abusive child labor as it relates to the production and purchase of chocolate. The chocolate suppliers and the CMA strongly condemn the use of slavery and abusive labor practices. Their goal is to support the governments and advocacy groups that will make a difference in the lives of the cacao farmers, as well as to give assurances to consumers that the cocoa has been farmed under appropriate working conditions.
Are there GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies?
Our baker determine whether to use genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors. There are some conventional ingredients, such as sugar, which are most prominently available in the United States as GMO. Our baker is an industry expert and have brought their experience and knowledge to the forefront on this topic, and they actively follow the science. For the time being, we feel confident in the safety of all the ingredients in Girl Scout Cookies, including GMO ingredients.
It's important to note that there is worldwide scientific support that there are no safety concerns with the currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) on the market—the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment. In addition, in the future, GMOs may offer a way to help feed an ever-increasing world population.
Should people with diabetes buy or consume Girl Scout Cookies?
Our licensed baker currently does not have a sugar-free cookie offering. According to the American Dietetic Association, most people with diabetes can enjoy sugars in moderation as a part of their meal plans, depending on blood glucose control and body weight. We encourage you to discuss the use of sugar in your diet with your doctor or registered dietitian.
For consumer convenience, our licensed baker lists dietary exchanges on the cookie package and the cookie order form, so people with diabetes and parents of children with diabetes can make informed choices. The amount of sugar and carbohydrates is also listed. Dietary exchanges should always be consulted, even if a product is labeled "sugarless." "Sugar free cookies" or "sugarless" are not synonymous with "diabetic cookie" labeling because of the carbohydrates.
What about the concerns of people on a low-carb diet?
The ingredients and nutritional elements of all cookies are listed on the cookie order forms and the the cookie packaging, so anyone concerned about carbohydrates can make informed choices. Nutritional information can also be found on Meet the Cookies
Don't Girl Scout Cookies contribute to childhood obesity?
Girl Scout Cookies are sold for a short time every year, and are considered a snack treat. As with all treats, they should be enjoyed in moderation.
Starting with our youngest members, the Girl Scout organization promotes a healthy lifestyle for girls, which includes a well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise. Our health and fitness programs encourage girls to adopt healthy fitness and eating habits early in life and to continue them into adulthood. Girls are also taught to consider ingredient contribution to their overall diet and portion size when choosing snacks.
The Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) released a research review entitled Weighing In: Helping Girls Be Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow. Weighing In addresses various underlying causes leading to the epidemic of obesity and of being overweight among children and adolescents and the lifestyles, culture, and behavior that have contributed to this condition. Read more about this research review.
Why don't you offer cookies that are whole-wheat, wheat-free, non-dairy, dairy-free, sugar-free, casein-free, organic, low-carbohydrate, low-calorie, lowfat, non-fat, fat-free, etc.?
Girl Scout Cookies are produced only once a year and for a limited time, so our baker never achieves the volume required to support the specific production of specialty cookies. The demand has not been great enough to make it economically feasible; however, our baker continues to experiment and have a commitment to ensuring there is always a "healthful" cookie in our line-up.
Our baker strives to use the most healthful ingredients available in the production of one of America's most treasured sweet treats. Check the labels of all the products you eat, including Girl Scout Cookies. You may just find a variety that fits within your dietary restrictions or goals.
Is my Girl Scout Cookie package recyclable?
Your cookie package is intended to be recyclable, but it may depend on your local recycling service whether the packaging can be accepted. The cookie packages can be recycled with paper products, and the inside trays are #6 and should be accepted with your other plastic recycling.
Selling Girl Scout Cookies
Who can sell Girl Scout Cookies?
All girl members may participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Although parents and Girl Scout adults may assist girls, it is the girl who makes the sale, sets learning and sales goals, and learns the entrepreneurial skills that are part of the program. Participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program is voluntary.
Does a Girl Scout troop have to sell cookies if they don't want to?
Girl Scout product activities offer girls a great way to finance their Girl Scout activities and special projects. Participation in product activities is voluntary and requires written permission by a parent or guardian. Annually, about 65% of registered Girl Scouts choose to participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.
Can Girl Scouts who are not in troops participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program?
Yes! To do so, registered Girl Scouts must abide by guidelines published by Girl Scouts of the USA and by Girl Scouts Heart of the South, and be supervised by a council trained adult. For more information about how Girl Scouts in your area can participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, please contact Brittan.Davis@girlscoutshs.org.
I've moved and now have to pre-order my cookies. Why is selling and buying cookies different from one community to the next?
Each Girl Scout council determines its precise method of getting cookies into the hands of customers. A customer will generally find themselves purchasing cookies in some version of the following types of sale, or hybrid thereof:
- Pre-order: Most Girl Scout councils provide participating girls with an order card to collect orders from their potential customers. Girls turn in their order cards, the council orders the cookies, and then girls go back to the customer to deliver them a few weeks later.
- Direct sale: Some councils provide girls with the cookies to sell directly to customers and eliminate the order-card process.
- Booth sales: The vast majority of councils allow girls to sell cookies at booths set up inside and outside various retail establishments. Booth sales usually occur during the last month or so of cookie season, and are usually combined with either a direct or pre-order sale.
How does Girl scouts ensure the safety of girls who sell cookies?
The safety and security of our members is always our chief concern. We have strict guidelines for safety. Girl Scouts, depending on their age, must be accompanied or supervised by an adult when selling Girl Scout Cookies and must always use the buddy system. Girls who are participating in online marketing initiatives (not online sales) must read and discuss the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge
. Girls print out the pledge and ask their parents (or guardians), to read and sign the pledge together.
Do girls earn Girl Scout awards from participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program?
As part of their experience in any Girl Scout product activity, girls can earn official Girl Scout awards at every level of Girl Scouting, including cookie and financial literacy badges and the annual Cookie Activity Pin. Awards are based on completing established program activities. Separately, girls can also earn rewards based on their sales activity, such as recognition items and program credits.
Can Girl Scouts donate cookies to military personnel serving overseas?
Girls may participate in a council approved "gift of caring" program, Troop to Troops that allows girls to collect donations of cookies for military personnel serving overseas. Through a partnership with Operation Troop
Aid, the council sends thousands of Girl Scout Cookies to troops. If a customer
wants specific cookies sent to a specific soldier, they need to purchase them
and mail them to the soldier of their choice.
Girl Scouts Heart of the South does not have any control over where the
cookies are sent once they are delivered to Operation Troop Aid.