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Inflation has arrived for do-si-dos cookies.
Several Girl Scout regional councils have raised the price of their popular cookies to help offset rising costs at the two commercial bakeries that make the treats.
That means your favorite box of Samoas that sold for $5 will soon cost $6 in many parts of the US.
“Like many other products you see in the world, our Girl Scout cookies are not immune to the same rising costs,” says Wendy Lu, Chief Revenue Officer of the Girl Scouts of America.
The increase provides a bittersweet lesson for young cookie sellers, including Lou’s 7-year-old daughter, who is a brownie in Connecticut.
“That’s part of the conversation we’re having this year,” says Lew. “It’s a little microcosm of actually running your business and dealing with real pressures, including inflation.”
It’s a difficult thing to tell clients
Many troops on the West Coast have already raised their cookie prices, and this is an adjustment for Girl Scouts and their customers.
Ten-year-old Madison Padstone already remembered the price of 12 boxes of cookies from the old $5-a-box price. Now, she has to multiply by $6 — and carry a lot of $1 bills to make the change.
Some cookie lovers are surprised when their thin mint purchasing power is thinner than it used to be. A $20 bill that used to buy four boxes of cookies now only covers three — two bucks left over.
“They were like, ‘What?’ People like that,” Madison says. “That’s one of the hardest parts: telling people that inflation has hit their craving for cookies.”
Madison managed to sell over 2,400 boxes this year, making her one of the top sellers in San Diego.
Most customers understand. It was the first price increase in San Diego since 2015. And while a 20% increase may seem large, the price of store-bought cookies has risen 23% over the past two years, according to inflation data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“If they ask about a price increase, we’ll politely explain that unfortunately, now that inflation is rising across the country, we have to raise our rates so we can still make a profit and offer these programs. Girls,” said the high school, which has been selling Girl Scout cookies for a decade. says sophomore Ashley Hilliard.
“The Tagalog Effect”
Proceeds from cookie sales make up 70% of the Girl Scouts of San Diego’s budget.
Each council sets its own cookie prices, but neighboring councils often move together in what is known as the “Tagalong effect”. Girl Scout councils across California adopted a standard cookie price of $6 per box this year. They saw a slight decline in sales.
“Most of us, if not all of us, have had a very successful cookie program,” said Carol Detrich, CEO of Girl Scouts San Diego. “We’ve had a great program since before COVID.”
Nationwide, Girl Scouts sell about 200 million cookies annually. Although Girl Scout cookies are only on sale for a few months a year, it’s more than Oreos — usually between January and April.
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Marketing expert — and former Girl Scout — Sally Lyons Wyatt doesn’t expect the $1 price increase to take a bite out of sales.
“Because it’s not about a cookie, is it?” Says Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president of Circana, a global market research firm. “Now, if they did something crazy like cost 20 bucks for a small package, well, maybe we’ll find a cliff there. But speaking of a nominal price increase, I don’t want to. I don’t think it’s going to impact demand.”
Madison, who hopes to top her own record by selling 2,500 boxes, is already ramping up her sales for next cookie season.
“The season isn’t very long,” Madison says. “You have to wait a whole year to get them back, so stock up.”