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Frequently Asked Questions

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 participating in Girl Scouts and only during your local council's cookie season. To find cookies and learn when cookie season starts in your community, simply enter your zip code in the Find Cookies! search box. Use the zip code locator to learn when cookies go on sale and where booth sales may be happening.

You can also call your local Girl Scout council. You can find its phone number(s), website, Facebook page, and Twitter account on the Council Finder page of our website. If you call your council, volunteers or staff there can help you find a cookie booth or a Girl Scout group near you. A council conducts only one cookie sale per year. Most of these activities take place between January and April, but some occur as early as September.

Finally, try our 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 use social media to learn more and tell your friends.

Can I buy Girl Scout Cookies online?

Girl Scouts of the USA realizes that Girl Scouts and their loyal cookie customers would like to have the option of selling and buying cookies online, and we hope to expand online and mobile offerings to more girls and consumers in future cookie seasons. We are committed to moving responsibly in this direction, with the top priority being girl safety, and while continuing to help girls develop critical and relevant entrepreneurship skills in the process.

Girl Scouts of the USA is presently conducting limited tests to engage girls and consumers in online and mobile Girl Scout Cookie Program experiences. In 2014, two Girl Scout councils—in Houston, Texas, and Minneapolis, Minnesota—will offer girls the ability to sell cookies online and from mobile handheld devices. This new sales channel is only available to selected girls and troops within the jurisdiction of the participating councils. Use the Find Cookies! search box to help you find Girl Scouts selling cookies and to learn more about how girls are participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program in your local community.

Girls and their families may employ online marketing tactics to let their contacts know that it's cookie season. An example of an appropriate marketing tactic is for a girl (aged 13 years or older) or her parent to let friends and family know to contact the Girl Scout directly to arrange a cookie purchase. Also, many Girl Scout councils allow girls to collect "order promises" online. Order promises do not include the ability to pay for the cookies online.

Cookies found for sale online at auction and community list sites should not be purchased under any circumstances, as GSUSA, your local Girl Scout council, and our licensed cookie bakers cannot guarantee the freshness or integrity of these cookies. Further, purchasing cookies in this way does not support Girl Scouts participating in the cookie program.
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. The cookie sale is just one of those activities. And because only girls may sell Girl Scout Cookies, their market availability is limited to the six- to eight-week period when they are engaged in the program in their local council.


Product Information


What if I'm not satisfied with my Girl Scout Cookies?

Contact the cookie baker if for any reason you aren't satisfied with a package of Girl Scout Cookies you purchased. The baker contact information is listed on each package.

How can I be sure my Girl Scout Cookies were baked for the current season?

Every Girl Scout cookie package is stamped with a seasonal "Use or freeze by" date. That date corresponds with the end of each cookie season. This means that Girl Scout Cookies with a date of September 2014 were baked for the 2013–2014 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. This information is featured on every package. 

Packages of Girl Scout Cookies sell for different prices in different areas of the country. Each of the 112 Girl Scout councils sets its own price, based on its needs and its 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. Up to 75 percent of the price of every package goes directly to Girl Scouts in your local area. To find out which local council serves your area, use the Find Cookies! search box.

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 Samoas? Why are my Trefoils now called Shortbread?

Each Girl Scout council chooses a licensed baker, either ABC Bakers or Little Brownie Bakers.  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 look and taste similar, but the name of the cookie and the recipe are dependent on the baker. The exception is Thin Mints, which is the name both bakers use to describe their chocolate-mint cookie.

How do I find out the ingredients, nutritional value, and allergen information for Girl Scout Cookies?

Cookie ingredients, nutritional information, and allergen information are clearly listed on both the cookie package and the cookie order form. Additionally, this information can be found in the Meet the Cookies section of the Girl Scout website.

With special regard for allergen concerns, our bakers bake Girl Scout Cookies in state-of-the-art facilities, and consumers can be assured that every required safety protocol is adhered to in order to prevent cross-contamination of ingredients. Consumers with additional questions can find out more by visiting the baker websites, www.abcsmartcookies.com or www.littlebrownie.com. To find out which licensed baker supplies your council with cookies, please contact your council. Ingredients may differ slightly by baker.

How do I determine which licensed baker supplies Girl Scout Cookies to my council?

To find out which licensed baker supplies your council with cookies, please contact your council.

Who selects Girl Scout cookie varieties?

The licensed bakers may 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. Girl Scouts of the USA reviews and approves the varieties proposed by the bakers. Any of the five optional cookies can be changed every year.

To see a listing of all current varieties of Girl Scout Cookies, along with pictures and descriptions, go to Meet the Cookies.

Why is my local Girl Scout council only selling six varieties of cookies, while the neighboring council is selling eight?

Half of the Girl Scout councils served by Little Brownie Bakers are taking part in the "Super Six" initiative and selling the core five favorite Girl Scout Cookies (Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, and Trefoils) and Savannah Smiles. Research shows that these core varieties appeal to the vast majority of customers. This initiative has been very successful and well received by both Girl Scout members and cookie consumers. The primary benefit to the participating Girl Scout councils is better management of cookie inventory and a way to streamline the sale process for girls and volunteers.

Are all Girl Scout Cookies kosher?

Yes. All Girl Scout Cookies are kosher.

What are the bestselling Girl Scout Cookies?

The top sellers are (percentage of total 2011–12 sales):

  • Thin Mints (25 percent)
  • Samoas/Caramel deLites (19 percent)
  • Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs (13 percent)
  • Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos (11 percent)
  • Shortbread/Trefoils (9 percent)

The other varieties, combined, account for the remaining 23 percent.

Where can I find recipes using Girl Scout Cookies?

Check out the websites of our two licensed bakers: ABC Bakers and 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 of the girls pictured on the packages are registered Girl Scouts. Every package shows Girl Scouts in action and participating in real Girl Scout program activities.

Do Girl Scout Cookies have trans fats?

Girl Scouts of the USA is proud that all Girl Scout Cookies have "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 the FDA guidelines for the "zero trans fat" designation. Selected varieties can claim 100 percent trans fat–free status, meaning there's not a speck of trans fat 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?

Our licensed bakers use a variety of ingredients in the production of Girl Scout Cookies, including, in some cookies, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Currently, Little Brownie Bakers does not use HFCS in any of its cookie varieties.

We trust our bakers, who are industry leaders, to develop recipes using ingredients that will produce the best-tasting  and highest-quality cookies while simultaneously addressing 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 used 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 offer customers the highest quality, and to serve as an alternative to trans fats. One of the primary goals of our Girl Scout cookie bakers is to create the best-tasting cookies possible using the healthiest ingredients available.

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 percent 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 joined 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 or www.abcsmartcookies.com to read more on the bakers' published statements and positions on palm oil.

American palm oil use represents approximately 2 percent 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 with 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 to developing a worldwide supply of sustainable palm oil. Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to assure a fully sustainable supply in the quantities required by our bakers. The GreenPalm investment supports farmers' initiatives to become sustainable. The presence of 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 percent of the palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies. Visit www.greenpalm.org to learn more about GreenPalm certificates.

Are Girl Scout Cookies "sustainable"?

Sustainability refers to social, environmental, and economic factors that an organization addresses to provide value not only to consumers, but also to the world. Girl Scouts are very proud of the initiatives our licensed bakers report on annually in terms of their corporate sustainability and social responsibility. The Girl Scout commitment to "make the world a better place" is a tenet we and our licensed bakers take very seriously.

Is the cocoa used in Girl Scout Cookies "conflict-free"?

Our licensed cookie bakers are actively working with their suppliers to ensure that the cocoa used in Girl Scout Cookies is responsibly sourced. Our bakers are required to provide assurance that cocoa sourced for Girl Scout Cookies is child- and slave-labor free. In order to provide this assurance, our bakers require compliance from their cocoa suppliers through strict supplier codes of conduct. Our bakers are also working with third-party organizations focused on creating a sustainable marketplace that rewards cocoa farmers who prohibit unethical practices.

GSUSA understands that in spite of the best efforts of our manufacturers and the ongoing work by their suppliers, we also have a responsibility to provide leadership on the topic of slave labor and human trafficking. We are committed to using our powerful voice and brand wherever possible to affect change in this area.

Are there GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies?

At the current time, there are genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in Girl Scout Cookies. Our bakers determine whether to use GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors and depending on the specific cookie recipe.

Girl Scouts recognizes that many people have concerns regarding GMO ingredients, and we monitor member and consumer opinion on this matter. It is important to note that there is worldwide scientific support for the safety of currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops. 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?

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 consumers who are concerned about sugar intake to discuss dietary options with a doctor or registered dietitian.

For consumer convenience, each of our licensed bakers 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 on the box. Dietary exchanges should always be consulted, even if a product is labeled "sugarless." With regard to labeling, terms such as "sugar free" or "sugarless" are not synonymous with "diabetic-friendly," owing to the carbohydrates.

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 or special 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 ingredients 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 that addresses various underlying causes that have led 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 carb, low calorie, low fat, non-fat, fat free, etc...?

Girl Scout Cookies are produced only once a year and for a limited time, so our bakers generally don't  achieve the volume required to support the production of specialty cookies. The demand has not been great enough to make it economically feasible; however, our bakers continue to experiment and have a commitment to ensuring there is always a "healthful" cookie in their line-up.

Each of our bakers 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 there a gluten-free Girl Scout cookie on the market this year?

In 2013–14, ABC Bakers is conducting a limited pilot of the Girl Scout Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie, and 20 Girl Scout councils have chosen to offer it. This special cookie is only available in areas where ABC Bakers is the licensed Girl Scout cookie baker, and councils have agreed to test-market it. The cookie will be sold at booth sales only, rather than featured on the order card.

For more information about the Girl Scout Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie, visit the ABC Bakers website.

Is my Girl Scout cookie package recyclable?

Girl Scout cookie packages are intended to be recyclable, but it depends on your local recycling service whether the packaging can be accepted.

ABC Bakers produces several Girl Scout cookie varieties that are available in soft-pack only, and without a paperboard package cover. The film overwrap is similar to the protective wrapping found inside all cookie varieties, and is recyclable. Film overwrap packaging is currently the "greenest" packaging available for Girl Scout Cookies, eliminating thousands of pounds of paperboard from the waste stream.


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, 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 or group have to sell cookies if they don't want to?

Girl Scout product sales offer girls a great way to finance their Girl Scout activities and special projects. Participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program is voluntary and requires written permission by a parent or guardian. Annually, about 65 percent of registered Girl Scouts choose to participate in the 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 the local Girl Scout council, 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 your local Girl Scout council.

I've moved, and now I 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 helping local Girl Scouts sell cookies to local customers. Cookies can generally be purchased through the following types of sales technique, or hybrid thereof:

  • Pre-order: 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: Girl Scout councils avoid the order-card process and provide girls with cookies to sell directly to customers.
  • Booth sales: Girl Scout 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.
  • Online and mobile sales: In 2014, two Girl Scout councils—in Houston, Texas, and Minneapolis, Minnesota—will offer girls the ability to sell cookies online and from mobile handheld devices. This new sales channel is only available to selected girls and troops within the jurisdiction of the participating councils. Girl Scouts of the USA hopes to expand online and mobile offerings to more Girl Scouts and consumers in future cookie seasons.

Girl Scouts participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program may only sell cookies according to their Girl Scout council's policies and procedures, and within the council's published sales timeframe.

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 safety guidelines. 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 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 badges by participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program?

Girls may earn the official Cookie Business badge and the Financial Literacy badges at every level of Girl Scouting. Girls may also earn the annual Cookie Activity pin. Badges are earned based on completing established program activities. Separately, girls can also earn rewards based on their sales activity, such as recognition items and program credits. Please contact your local Girl Scout council to learn more about the rewards established for girls in your community.

Can Girl Scouts donate cookies to military personnel serving overseas?

Girls may participate in a council-approved "Gift of Caring" or "Cookie Share" program that allows girls to collect donations of cookies for military personnel serving overseas. Any gifts in quantity to military overseas should be coordinated through the military or related personnel at both the place of origin and the place of receipt. Large shipments should be coordinated by the local Girl Scout council to assure that the cookies arrive where intended. Gifts should not be sent to U.S. bases or bases overseas where USA Girl Scouts Overseas (USAGSO) is involved in product sales. Girl Scouts should observe council jurisdiction when selling or marketing product for a gifting program.

What happens to the leftover cookies at the end of the cookie sale?

To ensure freshness, Girl Scouts only sell cookies produced for the current season. Therefore, if a council or troop has cookies left at the end of the sale, they are encouraged to work with local food pantries and other charitable organizations to distribute cookies as a special treat for people seeking food relief services. GSUSA works with our licensed bakers to ensure that they too have an annual plan for responsibly managing leftover cookie inventory.


Cookie Revenue


How can I be sure that Girl Scout Cookie Program revenue supports the local Girl Scouts in my community?

All of the revenue earned from cookie activities—every penny after paying the baker—stays with the local Girl Scout council. Each council determines its own revenue structure depending on its cookie cost, local retail price, and the amount that is shared with participating troops and groups. On average, Girl Scout council net revenue is approximately 65–75 percent of the local retail price, and the amount that is shared with participating Girl Scout troops and groups, referred to as troop proceeds, is approximately 10–20 percent of the local retail price. Cookie program revenue is a critical source of funding for local Girl Scout councils, and it is often what makes it possible to serve girls in hard-to-serve areas, and maintain camps and properties.

Girl Scout troops and groups must pool their proceeds to pay for program supplies, activities, and group travel. Girl Scouts may not earn proceeds as individuals; however, Girl Scout councils offer a wide variety of recognition items, program- and store-related credits, and travel experiences that girls are eligible to earn individually based on their sales. All troop proceeds and other rewards earned through participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program must be used to enhance each girl's Girl Scout experience.

Does any of the money from cookie sales go to Girl Scouts of the USA (the national Girl Scout organization)?

Girl Scouts of the USA is paid a royalty by its licensed bakers for use of Girl Scout trademarks based on gross annual sales. 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 activities, safety standards for girls and volunteers, our world-renowned girl-leadership program, and full support during cookie season.

Is my purchase of Girl Scout Cookies tax-deductible?
  • 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 projects or "Gift of Caring" programs. 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 organization, which may qualify as a donation to the organization receiving the cookies and may therefore be tax-deductible.
Does any part of Girl Scout Cookie Program revenue support organizations other than the local Girl Scout council?

One hundred percent of the net revenue raised through the Girl Scout Cookie Program stays with the local council and troops. This does not preclude Girl Scouts from spending their proceeds on program-related activities, such as paying their own way to a community event or museum, or funding other programmatic outings. Girl Scouts may also choose to use proceeds to purchase materials for a Take Action project to benefit the community.

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 and for inquiries regarding the use of Girl Scout Cookies in products, contact trademarks@girlscouts.org.

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