The Real Reason We Love Girl Scout Cookies
The 2022 Girl Scout cookie season launched on January 11 with a new addition called an Adventureful. Described as “brownie inspired,” already it has sold out in many places:
The Adventureful shortage is one example of Girl Scout Cookie economics.
But first, let’s take a brief look at the Adventureful because there are really two of them. It all depends on the baker. Your Girl Scout Council could have placed its order with Little Brownie Bakers (green) or ABC (yellowish). This map reflects the distribution in 2017. I suspect that Covid has changed it somewhat, especially because Little Brownie (green) has had difficulty with supply:
Below, you can see the difference. I wonder if ABC, with more fat, tastes better.
Little Brownie Adventurefuls:
Our Bottom Line: Girl Scout Cookie Economics
Girl Scout Cookie economics can first take us to the supply chain snarls that seem to be everywhere. As the source of cookies for 75 of 111 Girl Scout councils, Little Brownie Bakers had production delays because of labor and ingredient shortages. It appears that their shortfall was one reason some councils ran out of Adventurefuls and also S’mores.
Reflecting 12 month 7.5% inflation, cookie prices are going up. In Southern California, boxes are now $5 instead of $4. Explaining why, the Girl Scouts of greater Los Angeles report higher rent and staff expenses. Also, as you might expect, the cookies cost them more. Still though, New York decided to stay at $4.00 while some Southern councils have gone up from $3.50 to $4.00.
Next, at the risk of committing heresy, I would like to suggest that Girl Scout Cookies are really not great (or even very good) cookies. Instead, like the McRib and Pumpkin Spice Latte, Girl Scout Cookie popularity relates to their limited availability. As economists, that takes us to diminishing marginal utility. When we experience diminishing marginal utility, each extra bite of a cookie or slice of pizza gives us a little less extra pleasure. (The fifth cookie is never as good as the first one.) Because Girl Scout Cookies have a limited life each year, diminishing marginal utility is delayed. Especially with Adventurefuls running out, we really look forward to next year.
We should also add that Nobel economics prize winner Daniel Kahneman tells us that our memory of an experience can be quite different from the experience. Most typically, what happened at the end determines what we remember. With Girl Scout Cookies, our last experience is a good memory because we wanted more.
My sources and more: Thanks to WSJ, here and here,, for reminding me it was time to return to Girl Scout Cookies. Meanwhile, Fast Company had more of the facts as did the two bakers, here and here. As for memory, this Kahneman NPR interview has more.
Originally published at https://econlife.com on February 13, 2022.