Supply chain issues result in Girl Scout cookie shortage

Vincent Perretti

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America reported a shortage of cookies to sell as a result of production issues at one of the manufacturing plants that bake the goods.

Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers are the only bakeries contracted to manufacture the cookies, with the former accounting for 75% of all cookie production for the Girl Scouts. The cookie supplier ABC Bakers is not affected by production issues.

“We share the frustration that some Girl Scout troops feel this cookie season,” Little Brownie Bakers wrote in a Facebook post. “Global supply chain issues, local labor shortages and even unforeseen severe weather have all impacted the selling season.”

Traditionally, Girl Scouts sold the cookies in person, but in 2014, the organization launched its “Digital Cookie” platform to allow consumers to buy cookies online.

The Girl Scouts outsourced bakeries to produce the cookies as a result.

Little Brownie Bakers is owned by Ferrero SpA, which owns many other notable chocolate brands such as Ferrero Rocher, Butterfinger, Crunch and the hazelnut cocoa spread brand Nutella.

The bakery ships more than 84 million packages of Girl Scout cookies to local troops, producing more than it has in the last year, a Ferrero spokesperson told CNBC.

With the Girl Scouts cookie season underway, the demand for limited edition flavors of cookies combined with manufacturing production issues led the price of the cookies to increase astronomically.

The new “Raspberry Rally” flavor saw high demand during this selling season.

“We saw unprecedented demand for the Raspberry Rally, which sold at an astronomical pace,” a Girl Scouts spokesperson told the Eater.

Currently, connoisseurs of Raspberry Rally can buy the cookies for a minimum of $25 per box, with sellers opting to sell bulk orders between $250 and $320, according to listings on eBay Inc.

The organization reports nearly 200 million boxes of cookies sold, equating to $800 million per cookie season. But proceeds from sales through local sellers on eBay and Inc. typically do not go to the organization.

“When cookies are purchased through a third-party seller, Girl Scout troops are deprived of proceeds that fund critical programming throughout the year,” a spokesperson for the Girl Scouts told Fox Business. “Additionally, the Girl Scouts of the USA, your local Girl Scout council and our licensed cookie bakers cannot guarantee the freshness or integrity of cookies brought through unauthorized sites.”

With third-party sellers capitalizing on the shortage of cookies, the organization has grown increasingly disappointed with the bakery.

“We are extremely disappointed that LBB is again having challenges with managing their production,” a Girl Scouts spokesperson told CNBC. “We will address this issue with our baker partner in the future and we are keeping all options open to do right by our girls.”

Despite the increase in prices, other popular flavors the bakery makes, such as “Thin Mints,” “Adventurefuls” and “S’mores” are in stock and are being sold locally in affected areas by the local Girl Scout cookie booths, according to CNBC.

Additionally, employees in the bakery are reportedly working overtime, leading to the bakery being “on track to fulfill its initial orders,” according to an email from a Little Brownie Bakers spokesperson to The Washington Post.

“Maybe they bring in another supplier, another bakery that could help them be more diverse,” Jonathon Swart, who manages perishable food transportation strategies at BlueGrace Logistics, told The Washington Post. “But this is a problem faced across all food manufacturing over the past several years.”