Thin Mint Mania

In the 100th Girl Scout Cookie Season, Novelty Prevails

A new flavor, a new app and everything you need to know about the sweetest time of the year.

By Katharine Shilcutt January 21, 2017

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The Girl Scouts sold their first cookies in 1917.

Somehow missed out on buying Girl Scout cookies in the last couple of years? You may be surprised to find a few big new changes for the organization that's been selling cookies for a century. Girl Scouts and cookies have been intertwined since 1917, when the first sales of cookies to finance troop operations took place—only five years after Juliette Gordon Low began the Girl Scouts of America.

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Use the new Cookie Finder app to locate the troop nearest you.

Back then, wax sleeves of cookies were sold door to door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen. Today, boxes sell for around $4, and you're more likely to encounter Girl Scouts selling their boxes outside grocery stores and through networks of families and friends rather than selling door to door. And last year, the organization made it even easier to track down a troop by releasing its Cookie Finder app.

With the app, you can locate troops selling cookies in your area or enter your email address and phone number to be contacted by a Girl Scout directly. Thanks to another app, this one the Scouts themselves use, you can even pay for your order online. But that's not the latest innovation.

This year, the Girl Scouts have also introduced a new flavor: S'mores, which doesn't taste entirely like the classic campfire treat, but does taste like a crunchy graham cookie dipped in milk chocolate, which is still pretty great.

Other flavors for sale this year in Houston include Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Lemonades (introduced 10 years ago to replace the retired Lemon Pastry Crème) and the perennial best-seller, Thin Mints, whose sales account for 25 percent of all cookies sold each year.

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The second-best-selling cookie flavor? Caramel deLites, which account for 19 percent of sales.

Below, a few more fun facts about Girl Scout cookie sales in Houston over the years:

  • The Girl Scouts sold their first cookies in Houston in 1925. They baked the treats themselves in a kitchen that had been set up for them in the window of the W.C. Munn department store downtown at the corner of Travis and Capitol.
  • The first commercially-baked Girl Scout cookies were sold in Houston starting in 1950. The Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, which was chartered a few years earlier in 1947, set a goal of selling 80,000 boxes. They sold 80,016, raising $21,000 for improvements at Camp Tejas and Camp Agnes Arnold.
  • By the late 1950s, the Girl Scouts in Houston were regularly selling a quarter-million boxes of cookies per year. They hit a half-million boxes sold in a year by 1967.
  • In 1975, the average cost of a box of Girl Scout cookies in Houston was $1.25 a box. Two years later, in 1977, the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council sold one million boxes for the first time. In 1991, the Council sold three million.
  • By 2005, 3,208 Peanut Butter Sandwiches were being made per minute to keep up with nationwide demand. Every 60 seconds, 292 sleeves are wrapped, 146 packages are formed and just over a dozen cases are packed and sealed.
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