Girl Scout cookie inflation makes buyers feel crummy

Cookies now cost $6 a box after $1 hike


Ylin Zhu

All Girl Scout Cookies in Northern California now cost $6.

Even Girl Scout cookies aren’t safe from inflation.
The cost of the iconic cookies traditionally sold this time of year increased in Northern California from $5 to $6 a box on Jan. 29. This is the first price raise for the cookies in eight years, stemming from inflation, supply-chain issues, and shrinking enrollment in the program.
This season, NorCal Girl Scouts increased the cost of core cookies (Lemon-Ups, Trefoils, Samoas, Thin Mints, Tagalongs, and Do-si-dos) by a $1 per package, but reduced the cost of a few specialty cookies (Toffee-Tastic and Girl Scout S’mores) by $1. Now they all cost $6 a box.
“I was kind of surprised [about the price increase],” freshman Michelle Kennedy said. “My whole life, to my knowledge, it’s stayed the same, so learning this was kind of shocking.”
Only the NorCal Girl Scout program increased cookie prices, while cookie prices on the East Coast have remained the same, according to Lin Yeng, the leader of Troop 3179.
Seeing Girl Scout cookies at this new higher price online and in front of local Safeway stores has left Cal High’s avid cookie fans in dismay.
“[I] just wouldn’t find it [the cookies] as worth it,” freshman Aryana Kohil said.
Students like junior Elva Chen saw the price increase as the final straw for the already expensive cookies.
“I will never buy them again,” said Chen, whose favorite cookie to buy used to be Thin Mints.
Other students are still willing to pay the extra $1 for their cookie fix, but with more caution because of the hefty price.
“Personally I’m still willing to buy cookies,” freshman Samantha Connelly said. “Maybe like a few boxes but I’d just buy less than I normally would.”
The decline in Girl Scouts’ decreasing enrollment and sales has caused supply chain issues.
“The price increase may have to do with the decrease in membership and cookie sales during the pandemic as well as the increased production cost for Little Brownie Bakers,” Rebecca Griffin said.
Griffin is a parent responsible for sending the order for Troop 31641 to Little Brownie Bakers in order to receive the cookies for Girl Scouts to sell. Little Brownie Bakers is responsible for supplying the NorCal Girl Scouts with cookie boxes.
Yeng said there was a huge shortage of participating Scouts last year and the Girl Scout NorCal cookie program was forced to end early in the 2022 season.
Participation plays an important role in the rate of distribution of the cookies as well. According to the NorCal Girl Scouts official website, the program experienced “unprecedented decline in girl participation” by more than 50 percent this year, causing the organization to lose more than $6 million in revenue.
“My troop consists of six or seven girls but I know some troops have 16 girls, so it does vary,” Goldsmith said. “As you get older, not as many girls are as interested [in joining].”
Added Griffin, “Because of the pandemic, new troops never formed and so Girl Scouts has had a reduction in members. Cookie selling is the number one way Girl Scouts make money, so less Girl Scouts means less cookies sold.”
Further compounding the issue, cookie production for NorCal Girl Scouts this season was slowed down.
“The whole cookie process in our area specifically was delayed,” said Stephanie Kretschmer, a mom in Troop 31641. “We didn’t get cookies until March.”
Kretschmer said that because Little Brownie Bakers was facing production issues, Girl Scouts received cookies later and had less time to sell them.
“I don’t think [the shortage] was the Girl Scouts,” freshman Girl Scout Elaria Atkins said. “I think it was the [supplier]. There was a problem [with the supply chain].”
During the pandemic, supply chain shortages occurred and prices inflated, which still haven’t recovered to this day. As the dollar’s purchasing power decreased from inflation, prices of goods increased in tandem.
“Ten years later the price of cookies will be more than now, right?” Yeng said. “It’s part of inflation.”
Additionally, Griffin said when Little Brownie Bakers encountered a shortage of materials, Girl Scouts could not get cookies. This decline in production forced the cookie season to end early last year, resulting in more lost revenue.
Later, Little Brownie Bakers had to increase production cost for the cookies as demand increased. NorCal Girl Scouts increased cookie prices this season to compensate for this.
As the price of the cookies increased, Girl Scout proceeds also increased. Proceeds are based on the price of the cookies and the average number of packages sold per participant.
Troop activities are powered by proceeds earned through activities like the Girl Scout cookie program. Of the profits from each package, 58 percent funds council service, 21 percent covers the cost of cookies from the bakery, 20 percent stays with troops, and one percent covers other program costs.
“Girl Scouts has not changed the cookie price a lot because every time they make a change of price it’s a big deal,” Yeng said. “It’s on the news.”
Many cookie buyers continue to buy cookies because they like to support the program.
“[People would buy cookies] to support the children and their friends and families in Girl Scouts,” Kennedy said.
Regardless of the controversial price regarding Girl Scout cookies, Cal students were still thrilled to take part in the derby to stock up on cookies before the season ended last Sunday.
“[I would buy] but not as much,” Kennedy said.
News Editor Andrew Ma contributed to this story.