How Supply Chain Disruptions Led to a Shortage of Girl Scout Cookies


Pictured are four different varieties of Girl Scout Cookies, Samoas, Do-Si-Dos, Thin Mints, and Trefoils. It was difficult for many troops across the country to get enough boxes of cookies this year to fulfill their orders. “The Adventurefuls and Trefoils [were in particularly short supply] I think because the demand was underestimated,” said Girl Scout, Shea Decoteau ‘22.

Rachel Lindof, Assistant Head Editor

It is evident that there have recently been large disruptions in the global supply-chain as a result of pandemic lockdowns and subsequent manufacturing delays. The global economy recently has seen shortages in everything from computer chips to lumber, and now: Girl Scout Cookies. 

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is designed to provide young girls experience in business ethics, goal setting, money management, decision making, and entrepreneurship–but this year in particular, many scouts have also been receiving a lesson in economics. 

The Girl Scout organization outsources their cookie production to two different bakers: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. These two companies produce all of the Girl Scout Cookies across the country and explains why you may see differences in cookie selection or names from state to state as each company works with different councils.

While the councils who receive their cookies from ABC Bakers have been largely unaffected by supply chain disruptions, Little Brownie Bakers has been experiencing shortages in their cookies, affecting 75 of the 111 councils across the country. “Little Brownie Bakers said [the delay] was due to labor and ingredient shortages. I believe it to be true and … I think the labor shortage impacted both workers not being available to work shifts to produce cookies in a timely manner and impacted the company’s ability to get ingredients,” explained Girl Scout Troop Leader, Shera Brown.  The Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, which includes all troops in New Hampshire, orders their cookies from Little Brownie Bakers, and scouts have been feeling the effects. “[At our] booth sale, we ran out [of cookies] very quickly and other people were still looking for them,” said Girl Scout, Melissa Burgher ‘22.

The Girl Scouts introduced a new cookie variety this year, Adventurefuls. It’s difficult to accurately predict the expected demand for new flavors of cookies, and especially in a year with supply already being limited. This was not the best situation for scouts and consumers alike, “Adventurefuls were immediately in short supply and they were not able in some cases to fulfill initial orders due to the ingredient shortages,” said Brown, “we had to reduce the number of cookies we were able to offer and sell to customers, both in variety and volume–this impacted our overall troop sales and proceeds,” she continued.

Troops all over the country experienced the effects of the Adventureful shortage, in addition to short supply of several other cookie varieties, including Somoas and Trefoils. “Some people were really happy that we had the cookies they wanted because they had been looking for them,” said Girl Scout, Shea Decoteau ‘22. “And then some people were really sad because we didn’t have the cookies that they wanted,” added Burgher ‘22.  

With all of the disruptions in cookie sales this year, affecting consumers from getting their annual cookies, as well as affecting troops in being able to fulfill their goals and raise enough money, the question remains: will we see another shortage of cookies next year? Decoteau ‘22 said that she thinks it’s very possible but that it will not be as pronounced as this year’s shortage was. 

As we see cookies to be in high demand every year, with now a very limited supply, many are wondering if another price per box increase could be seen soon. Brown said that she thinks there “absolutely” could be a price increase in the future, “especially if employers end up having to pay employees higher wages to work. That said, I know as a nonprofit organization the Girl Scouts will do their very best to keep the increase limited, if any, but they do work with a for-profit company to handle the baking and production so they are at the mercy of what those companies need to charge to cover their own expenses. Again, I hope it is not the case but the potential is there.”