Shortage of Girl Scout cookies causes baker frustration

Girl Scouts announced the new Raspberry Cookie Rally in Orlando, Florida on August 16, 2022.

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This is how the Girl Scout cookie crumbles.

Amid widespread cookie shortages, the Girl Scouts of the United States said they were “keeping all options open” as frustrations mounted with one of its bakery partners, Little Brownie Bakers, which is owned by Italian confectionery giant Ferrero.

Little Brownie Bakers, or LBB, informed Girl Scouts Monday morning that weather-caused power outages at their factory in Louisville, Ky., halted cookie production for the March 5 weekend, bringing the inventory even further.

The power outages come amid a series of production delays and issues that LBB has cited to Girl Scouts since January, the start of sales season, according to a person familiar with the matter. In an email obtained by CNBC, Girl Scout executives told local troop leaders they expect their bakery partners to be ‘further ahead of demand’ than LBB has been. so far.

Inventory issues caused a shortage of certain cookie flavors that caused resale prices for Girl Scout cookies to skyrocket. Boxes of the brand new limited edition flavor, Raspberry Rally, are on the way sold on eBay for $35. Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies usually go for $5 a pop.

Little Brownie Bakers also said mechanical issues have hampered the production of Samoas, the popular caramel-coconut cookie. It’s the third year in a row that the baker has struggled to keep pace with cookie production, said the person, who is not authorized to speak about it publicly.

“We are extremely disappointed that LBB is once again having difficulty managing its production,” A The Girl Scouts spokesperson told CNBC. “We will be addressing these issues with our baker partner in the future and we are keeping all options open to do good by our daughters.”

As of this week, approximately 75% of local Girl Scout troops are supplied by LBB and as a result have not been able to respond their cookie sales goals, which are the main source of troop funding. The remaining 25% of Girl Scout councils are supplied by ABC Bakers, a small baking company which Girl Scouts say has not had the same production problems as LBB.

Granted, LBB has shipped more than 84 million packages to local troops and produced more Girl Scout cookies than it had this time around just last year, said a spokesperson for Ferrero, which makes the Ferrero Rocher chocolate and hazelnut candies.

Ferrero Rocher chocolate and hazelnut confections seen in a supermarket.

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“Global supply chain issues, local labor shortages and even unforeseen inclement weather have all impacted the selling season, but Little Brownie Bakers is on track to fulfill initial orders” , Ferrero told CNBC.

In the meantime, Ferrero said “our bakery crews have been working overtime” to ensure initial orders of Girl Scout cookies are fulfilled.

For the remainder of the selling season, Thin Mints, Adventurefuls and S’mores are the only cookie flavors available for purchase online at some scout troops in states such as New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama, Oregon and others. Orders already placed will not be affected, and customers in affected areas can still purchase the other flavors in person at local Girl Scout cookie booths.

Ferrero, also known for brands like Nutella and Kinder Bueno, has been on a mission to grow over the past year. In November, it broke ground on a $214 million expansion of its Bloomington, Ill., manufacturing facility to produce Kinder Bueno chocolate for the first time in North America. The company said the Kinder Bueno project has led to the creation of 200 new jobs in Bloomington.

In December he agreed to buy ice cream giant Wells Enterpriseswhich would expand its North American footprint.

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