Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Girl Scouts cut cookie selection

The marketing-savvy organization sees more profit in fewer varieties. Can't find cookies? Use the app.

By Teresa Mears Jan 31, 2011 2:19PM

No one is immune to the economy, not even the Girl Scouts.


The organization is discontinuing some of its less popular cookie flavors, choosing to cut costs by focusing on just six flavors in 12 test markets around the country.

Whew! Samoas (also known as Caramel deLites) are still being sold nationwide, as are Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, Trefoils, Lemon Chalet Cremes and Tagalongs (aka Peanut Butter Patties).


But Dulce de Leche, Thank U Berry Munch and All Abouts shortbread cookies are no longer on the menu for the regions participating in the Super Six pilot.


The Girl Scouts, which started selling cookies in 1917, have focused more on successful marketing techniques in recent years. The organization's latest move was to embrace the use of social media for cookie sales.


Like other merchants, the organization is looking for ways to cut costs in lean times.


"Our top five varieties make up 77% of cookie sales," Amanda Hamaker, the Girl Scouts' manager of national product sales, told The Wall Street Journal. "The others are yummy and fun, but they're side dressing -- leaving councils with an awful lot of alternate varieties left over."


She told the WSJ: "We're all seeking a little more simplicity." Post continues after video.

Girl Scout cookies are still not sold on the Web -- leaders believe the girls learn more when they sell in person -- but Girl Scouts 13 and older can now market their cookies online. You can read about the cookies on the Web (enter your ZIP code to find a local troop selling cookies), "like" Girl Scout cookies on Facebook (and send virtual cookies to your friends with the app), follow the Girl Scouts on Twitter, watch them on YouTube and download cookie-finding apps for iPhone and Android.


The Girl Scouts may be tightening their belts but they're making it easy for you to buy a few boxes of cookies rather than tighten yours. Prices are $3.50 to $4 a box, depending on where you live.


So far, the discontinuation of the less popular flavors hasn't drawn much opposition, though 12-year-old Girl Scout Josephine Woytas of Oklahoma and her family are hoarding boxes of the Dulce de Leche caramel cookies. "I can't believe they took those away," Josephine told the WSJ. "I guess what it comes down to is the consumer's choice."


The Girl Scouts must know what they're doing. According to the WSJ, profits rose from $700 million to $714 million last year, after six years of falling about 1% a year.


More from MSN Money:

Jan 31, 2011 7:44PM
I have deleted this site on my homepage due to the constant automatic start of videos lower on my screen that scare the crap out of me every time I click on a headline I want to see.  You should be ashamed, smart spending! I have repeatedly requested you stop this method of commercial advertising, but you have not listened. All MSN money links have been deleted as of now due to this rude method of yours to advertise on your webpages.Angry
Jan 31, 2011 7:12PM
I used to sell Girl Scout cookies when they were made by the Burry company. They were truly a much better product. Thin mints were actually a short bread cookie covered with the chocolate mint and the quality was way better in size and taste. These little mint flat disc's hardly qualify as a cookie in my book. They need to make the product better..Period!!!
Jan 31, 2011 7:09PM

Noooooooooooooooo! Take away my Girl Sprout Cookies? Boo, hiss!


I grew up as a Brownie and then a Girl Scout. I sold GS Cookies and my mother was at one time the troop leader, neighborhood chairman and cookie chairman. We ate, breathed and sold cookies to everyone who would hold still.

Jan 31, 2011 6:54PM
Wow, it's disappointing to see the amount of negative comments here.   I was a girl scout and sold cookies door-to-door, and delivered them with my wagon, no less.  I learned so much, including self confidence.  When I sold these cookies in the 80's they were $2 a box.  They're $4 now, so with inflation, that seems about right.  Girl scout cookies are as American and Apple Pie.  If you don't like em' don't buy em'.  But don't knock what the girls are learning from this.  Overall, I think it's a great organization.  Some flaws for sure.  But I don't think it's fair to make them sound like cancer-causing thiefs.  Get a grip!
Jan 31, 2011 6:44PM
Perhaps the Girl Scouts should try to convince Mrs. Fields that it's a better strategy to only sell their cookies a few weeks out of the year.  On the other hand, if the Girl Scout cookies were available all year or whenever each District or Region chose to sell them, maybe sales would go up and cuts wouldn't be necessary.
Jan 31, 2011 6:37PM
hi there my name is wanessa and this is my first year doing girl scouts  so im a caddet 6th grader and i like the one that have peanut butter in the cookies and i love staying in the girl scouts cause i could make a lot of girl friend so everytime i sit somewhere at lunch time no one would sit near me
Jan 31, 2011 6:28PM
I use to be a girl scout and thin mints will always be my favorite
dont cut thin mints or smore's here plz there my favs
Jan 31, 2011 5:30PM
Be careful what you spend your money on.  Girl Scouts has nationally reorganized councils to make them better for all.  What a joke that is.  Councils are becoming very disfunctional and the "Upper" management doesn't care about the staff, girls or volunteers.  The deep upping the price of the cookies, giving you less for your money and then the council I live in isn't eveh held accountable for the money.  There are troops who haven't paid their cookie bill from last year but the council hasn't tried to collect.  Why would I want to give money to a disfunctional council that treats it's staff (both former and current) like garbage??  I will find something better to support and it is sad because it is the girls who get hurt. 
Jan 31, 2011 5:28PM
By just giving the troop 4 dollars the girls would learn nothing. Besides our girls love the cookie sale.
Jan 31, 2011 5:27PM
Gjc........please show your proof and documentation that these ingredients cause cancer.....
Jan 31, 2011 5:25PM
Since the troop gets such a tiny percentage of the sales, you're better off giving the troop your 4 dollars directly.
Jan 31, 2011 5:23PM
How about they stop jacking the price up while either making the packages smaller or using the same size package to hold less? Here's an economics lesson: people don't like to be ripped off. I'll pay a fair price for a fair product - plus a little bit for a good cause - but I know the markup percentage is huge and it's not all going to the troops. Have you seen some of the Girl Scout offices? I'd rather give the girls $2 cash and then go into the store and buy a $2 package of Keeblers.
Jan 31, 2011 5:23PM
Te thing they don't talk about is the fact that the cookies are made by 2 different companies and one is way better then the other. ABC cookies are what my daughter has to sell and these are no where near as good as the other companies cookies. But we can't get those through our council. They should focus more on quality then they do on volume.
Jan 31, 2011 5:21PM
How about cutting out some of the cancer and obesity-causing ingredients instead?  (see sample ingredients below from their Samosa variety), OR get rid of half of their excessive packaging (adios, Shamu), OR make wholesome granola bars from real ingredients that are actually made of food and cost way less to make?

“Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, (Soybean, Cottonseed, Coconut Palm And/Or Palm Kernel Oils, Tbhq And Citric Acid To Preserve Freshness), Enriched Flour [Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Corn Syrup, Coconut, Sweetened Condensed Whole Milk (Whole Milk, Sucrose), Sorbitol, Contains Two Percent Or Less Of Cocoa, Glycerine, Salt, Dextrose, Invert Sugar, Cocoa Powder (Processed With Alkali), Cornstarch, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Leavening (Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate)”

Isn't Girl Scouts all about teaching and empowering young girls/women?  Or, is it about making the people who buy their cookies have cankles to make them look better?

Jan 31, 2011 5:21PM

Oh I remember the days when they were 50 cents a box…sold a lot of them in the mid 1960s; good memories!!  Sold them myself, door to door!!

Jan 31, 2011 5:09PM
This used to be for a good cause. Now they cut some favorites due to economics. What next an LLC at the end of their name. I'm done, sorry girls.
Jan 31, 2011 4:54PM
Wonder what percentage of GS cookies are sold by parents to their co-workers?
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.