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Why Are Girl Scout Cookies So Expensive? [9 Reasons 2023]


Girl Scout cookies are a well-known and beloved treat. These cookies support local Girl Scouts and give them experience in the sales world.

While one box of cookies may be affordable, their custom flavors tempt many to buy more. This adds up to quite a bit of cash.

Packs containing various flavors of Girl Scout cookies. Photo: slgckgc / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Girl Scout cookies are so expensive because they help to raise funds for the organization and local troops. The bakeries must mass produce millions of cookies during the selling season, to meet the demand of the consumers who want a convenient and popular brand of cookie. To be economically resourceful, the company has also had to make ingredient changes to benefit people globally and locally.

Let’s explore these factors in more depth. Here you can see why Girl Scouts cookies cost more than others that you might buy off the grocery shelves or make on your own.

1. Organizational Costs

The Girl Scouts of America provide girls with opportunities to become leaders in their communities. The sales of cookies promote goal-setting, money management, decision making, interpersonal skills, and entrepreneurship.  

About 76% of Girl Scout cookie revenue stays local. 

More than half, at 54%, of the money, goes towards Girl Scouts programs and properties, volunteer training, financial assistance, and local council support. Successful sales can help pay for the girls’ annual registration fees, uniforms, and badges.

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Incentives for the girls and local troops receive 22% of sales. Incentives for sales offer prizes for top-sellers or store credit towards Girl Scout merchandise. 

The remaining 24% is used for the cookie program and baking costs.

Girl Scouts is a large organization that has been around for over 100 years and has had over 50 million participants. It takes considerable money to keep an organization thriving and successful.

2. Source Of Fundraising

As mentioned above, 76% of the proceeds go towards the girls in the Girl Scouts program. The price is higher overall to raise funds for their individual troops. 

Each ​​local troop is involved in community projects that can directly benefit themselves and those that live in the area.

People are willing to buy cookies at a higher price to support their local community.

3. Production Costs

Bakers can purchase ingredients in bulk for mass production. In most cases, the cost of buying in bulk is cheaper

However, these bakers are producing millions of cookies, which requires money for labor, utilities of the factory, machines, and packaging.

It takes money to make Girl Scout cookies, and the bakers that produce them must also make profits. If the bakers need more money for production costs this will, in turn, raise the cost of the cookies.  

4. Convenience

It takes considerable time to make cookies from start to finish. These include cookie dough, fillings, drizzled toppings, or shaved and toasted coconut. 

The cookie dough needs time to bake as well as time for assembling the final product such as putting together creme-filled ones. 

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Then, all of the cookies need to be packaged for distribution.

While home bakers may not pack up their cookies for sale, the time and effort to make cookies like Girl Scout style ones is considerable. For example, if you make a copycat version of Girl Scout Samoas, you will spend about 3 hours of your time making them.  

When personal time is limited, paying for the convenience of Girl Scout cookies to enjoy, may be worth the higher cost.

5. Branding And Popularity

Girl Scouts sold sugar cookies in the 1920s for 25 to 30 cents a box. Over time, new varieties became available and prices increased. 

The Girl Scout cookies became popular, and many people today know which flavor they like as well as the packaging it comes in. 

Their success in building a $700 million cookie empire offers a well-known brand image with desired products.

To maintain this image and reputation, this will be reflected in the overall cost.

6. Cookie Competition

A quick walk down the snack aisle in the grocery store will offer consumers a large variety of cookies.  

While overall costs will change with market fluctuations, this table shows some examples of cookies with approximate costs per cookie:

Girl Scout Cookie Price Per CookieCompetitor Cookie Price Per Cookie
Lemonades - $0.31Oreos - $0.11
Thanks-A-Lot - $0.31Milano Milk Chocolate - $0.27
Peanut Butter Sandwich - $0.24Mother’s Taffy - $0.20
Thin Mints - $0.16 Chips Ahoy - $0.13

Girl Scouts offer unique flavors seasonally and must compete with other brands. Since they do not sell year-round, they still must make a profit to support their programming and production. As a result, Girl Scout cookies cost more.

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7. Using Palm Oil Affects Sales

Palm oil is an ingredient that is commonly used in many packaged products, including Girl Scout cookies. Unfortunately, it was discovered that the cookies were not using ethically sourced palm oil. 

Concerns over child labor abuse and sustainability issues led to some people and businesses boycotting products, including Girl Scout cookies.

To rectify this, there is work being done to use deforestation-free and exploitation-free palm oil, as well as using a different ingredient in some of their cookie recipes. 

This will involve rectifying issues and supply chains for the bakers that they work with for better palm oil certification

This process takes time and money to fix.  

8. Better Ingredients And Regulations

To provide better cookies, Girl Scouts pay their bakers to use higher-quality ingredients for today’s consumers.

For example, Thin Mints are vegan, as well as some of the other cookies depending on which bakery they come from. Other cookies are also gluten-free so that more customers can enjoy these iconic sweets.  

Vegan and gluten-free labels require guidelines that must be followed for them to be certified as such. 

Certification and regulation processes cost money, which is reflected in the total cost to the consumer.

9. Supply And Demand

Girl Scout cookies are sold seasonally, typically from January to April. As a result, consumers are limited on when they can buy these cookies.  

Girl Scout cookies are served on a plate during the product’s annual sale event. Photo: Sheila Herman / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

When the demand for cookies is high, and knowing you cannot have a supply year-round, this makes these cookies more like a specialty item. 

As a result, prices are higher.


Girl Scout cookies are generally more expensive than other brands, mainly due to fundraising and production costs. 

Additionally, bakeries are using ingredients and products that are more consumer and globally friendly. The cookies are offered seasonally, and bakeries and the Girl Scouts organization must still make a profit after production costs.

Combined, these factors contribute to a higher cost to the consumer.