Girl Scouts stir up baking mixes for home cooks

A new line of baking mix available at grocery stores bears the Girl Scouts' trademark. Can it help the organization expand its brand and boost sagging revenue from cookie sales?

Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor/File
Girl Scout Brogan Madden of Eastern Massachusetts Girl Scout Troop 71911, waits to take credit card payments on ROAMpay mobile card reader while selling cookies at the Harvard Square subway stop in January 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dear connoisseurs of Girl Scout cookies: Now you don't have to wait until March before indulging in your favorite Girl Scout cookie flavor.

In a partnership with the Girl Scouts, Pillsbury baking company is releasing a line of four baking mixes inspired by the Scouts' cookies. The line includes brownie, blondie, and cupcake mixes for Thin Mint and Caramel and Coconut flavors.

A box of the mix, will retail at $3.29

The partnership appears to be a way for the Girl Scouts to gin up some extra revenue during lean times for the organization.  Membership has dipped to 1.88 million girls, from 2.1 million three years ago, reported the Christian Science Monitor in January. And cookie sales have fallen, too, as hard as that may be to believe. They still generated a whopping $776 million in sales last year – some 194 million boxes – but that constituted 1 million fewer boxes than in 2014. 

According to the Monitor, Visa and Dell invested about $3 million this winter in a Girl Scout campaign designed to expand digital and app platforms with features encouraging girls to learn about math and technology – and how to use those skills to sell more cookies. Scouts can use the initiative, known as Digital Cookie, to set up websites that can take online orders and send email blasts to contacts. 

Girl Scout cookies trace their origin to a troop in Oklahoma in 1917, who organized a bake drive for their local high school, according to Business Insider. The major leap came in the mid-1930s, when a troop in Philadelphia decided to outsource the baking part to local bakeries, and market the sales in the windows of utility companies. For each box sold, 75 percent of the money goes to the local council, with the remainder going to the bakeries that produce them.

There are more than 28 flavors of Girl Scout cookies, and depending on the bakery that makes them, the flavors, and even the names, can vary by region. This can be confusing when Carmel deLites are also known as Samoas and those Do-si-dos might also go by Peanut Butter Sandwich. But flavors for the baking mixes will be straight shooters: Thin Mints and Caramel and Coconut.

Among contingents that might welcome the new bake mixes are top cops at the New York Police Department. Conflict-of-interest rules at the NYPD, reported WNYC last week, bar supervisors from selling their daughters' Girl Scout cookies to fellow employees. 

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