Every year when Girl Scout Cookie season rolls around, thousands of troops take to the streets with a very noble mission: to sell as many boxes of cookies as humanly possible. Girl Scout cookies are win-win: Girl Scout troops and local councils get to keep the proceeds as a much-needed source of revenue, and everybody else gets cookies. But even if you’ve never missed an opportunity to stock up on Thin Mints, we bet that there are some things you didn’t know about these popular cookies.
Girl Scout cookies trace their roots all the way back to 1917, when an Oklahoma troop sold cookies as a fundraiser at their local high school. Five years later, scout magazine This American Girl published some cookie recipes for troops who wanted to fundraise, and in the 1930s the first official sales were held in major cities, and bakeries were licensed to produce cookies.[related]
Today, Girl Scout cookies are produced by two bakeries: ABC Bakers (a subsidiary of Interbake Foods, which is owned by George Weston Limited) and Little Brownie Bakers (a subsidiary of Keebler, which is owned by Kellogg’s). Even though there are some major differences between the cookies they produce (more on that later), the “core five” cookies are the same (albeit with different names, occasionally): Thin Mints, Trefoils or Shortbread, Samoas or Caramel deLites, Tagalongs or Peanut Butter Patties, and Do-si-dos or Peanut Butter Sandwiches. If your cookies are called Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, and Do-si-dos, they’re produced by Little Brownie; If they’re called Shortbread, Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Patties, and Peanut Butter Sandwiches, they’re produced by ABC. The only cookie names shared by both companies are Thin Mints and the newest variety, S'mores (which look completely different).
Once the cost of the cookies is repaid to the bakery, all of the net revenue raised through Girl Scout Cookie sales stays with the local councils and troops. They’re allowed to set their own goals on how the money is spent, from financing outings to events and museums to buying materials for community projects and maintaining camps and properties. So whether you call them Samoas or Caramel deLites, it’s hard to argue that buying Girl Scout cookies doesn’t support a good cause. Read on for 10 things you may not have known about Girl Scout cookies.