I won’t mints words: Girl Scout Cookies are within your reach!

1 Feb

This mint is thin. Like I won't be.

Part of what we do as vegans is to deprive ourselves for a cause. Another part of what we do is act like we’re not depriving ourselves so as not to scare off potential newbies. I almost never feel deprived. I’m used to it after almost 17 months and hardly miss anything I can no longer eat. But I do recall looking in the freezer last year and seeing a box of Thin Mints, then reaching my hand in and removing said box, and then examining the ingredients to find that, not surprisingly, there was something in them I no longer eat. That being milk.

But before I recalled that, I forgot it. You see, when I saw a billboard or whatever it was a few weeks ago that reminded me it’s almost Girl Scout Cookie time, I couldn’t remember whether they were vegan or not. So I did a little research on the computerkabob and found out that SOME Girl Scout Cookies seem to be… calm down… vegan.

It was a bit confusing at first. When you go the cookie website of the national Girl Scouts there’s a link for ingredients. And when you click it you get an odd colorful graphic. 16 different Nutrition Facts/Ingredients labels pop up. Eight are little, EIGHT ARE BIG. It took me a bit of thunkin’ and some further research to figure out what was going on. Turns out, the Girl Scouts get their cookies from two different bakers. You can read all about it on Wikipedia. One is Little Brownie Bakers, which is part of Keebler, which is part of Kellogg’s. The other is ABC Bakers, which is part of Interbake Foods, which is part of the Canadian company George Weston Limited. Capiche?

Odd colorful graphic.

Well, you don’t really need to capiche, because here’s all you need to know: All eight types of Little Brownie cookies (the ones with the small labels in the graphic) have milk. HOWEVER, only three of the eight ABC types (the big labels) have milk. That’s right: five of the eight ABC kinds ARE VEGAN! Now keep in mind, when I say vegan, I’m only saying they ain’t got milk, or anything else on the label that seems WFU (wrong for us). BUT the problem for me was that I’ve only ever seen Little Brownie ones.

So I made some calls. And here’s what I learned. The Girl Scouts are divided up into councils. Some councils comprise one county, like the Los Angeles council, while other councils are made up of two or more counties. Each council makes their own decision as to which of the two bakers they will buy from.

Now this is where I go all SoCal on you. If you’re not in SoCal, call, email or tweet your local council to find out which baker they use. The Los Angeles Council buys their cookies from Little Brownie Bakers so they’re no good for us. However, the Girl Scouts of Orange County buys its cookies from ABC so five of the eight types, including Thin Mints, are okay! The other types we can eat are Shout Outs, Peanut Butter Patties, Lemonades, and Thanks-A-Lots.  (The Caramel deLites, Shortbreads and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies contain milk and are nicht gut.)

The Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council, which comprises San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, also buy from ABC and are thus also good for those same five types. Ventura County is part of the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast Council which also includes Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo and on up to Monterey and Santa Cruz. They buy from Little Brownie so forget ’em. The Girl Scouts of San Diego also buys from Little Brownie so they’re out, too.

The Girl Scouts of Orange County begin their booth sales on February 17 and end on March 11. You can plug in a zip code for a town close to L.A. like Seal Beach (90740) or Westminster (92683) into the handy Find Cookies box on girlscoutcookies.org and it will tell you the time and place where you can find Girl Scouts set up in front of the nearest supermarket, bank, or big box store selling cookies. Maybe you can combine it with that trip to the Seabirds Truck that you’ve been thinking about taking forever. UPDATE: There is a new Orange County Cookie Finder website.

If Riverside or San Bernardino Counties are more  your thing, they already started their booth sales a couple of days ago and will continue theirs all the way through March 28. Again, you can use the Cookie Finder box on girlscoutcookies.org to find the best spot for buyin’.

There’s even a Cookie Finder app available for iPhone but it’s made by Kellogg’s (Little Brownie) so I’m not sure if it taps into the entire database the website does or if it only tells you where to find Little Brownie (verboten) ones.

Now all that’s left to do is to figure out how to persuade the Girl Scouts of Los Angeles to change bakers for next year. We’ve got 11 months to do that so let’s get crackin’!

12 Responses to “I won’t mints words: Girl Scout Cookies are within your reach!”

  1. toxicvegan February 11, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award because I love reading your blog
    Thank you!

  2. kerri February 21, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    Hi..I remember reading about some varieties of Girl Scout Cookies which were vegan a couple of years ago-but none available here in Michigan. I couldn’t say no when asked, so I either just made a donation; bought cookies which they kept to send the troops overseas; or asked the girls which cookies they’d like, and buy them cookies. A couple of days ago, I saw the table at the grocery store and asked about vegan cookies. One of the moms said they tried vegan cookies a couple of years ago but they did’t go over well, “people tried them and said they didn’t taste the same..they were terrible.” I told her some cookies are naturally vegan and pointed out some commercially made ones (like Mi-Del Gingersnaps-not the gluten-free, they contain eggs; Oreos; and many others). She was really surprised,

    • insufferablevegan February 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      Hi Kerri, if you see that table outside your grocery store again, simply pick up a box and see if they are from Little Brownie Bakers or ABC Bakers. If they are from Little Brownie then no varieties are vegan, but if they are from ABC, then five of the eight types are vegan and check the ingredients list for milk. As to that mom’s comments, I have no way of knowing if she’s attacking veganism out of defensiveness, or merely talking out of her butt. So I’d go with both. If what she’s saying is that her council sold ABC-made cookies and switched to Little Brownie ones because the ABC-made ones were terrible tasting, well, I doubt she could really tell the difference in taste between the two bakeries and also, that would mean that half the country is eating cookies that “don’t taste the same and are terrible.” More likely, she’s just spewing nonsense.

      • kerri February 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

        Hi..thanks for your comment. I will look at the box for ABC next time. I think some people just assume that cookies labeled vegan will taste bad, when in fact, many “regular” cookies are made without milk or eggs. I have purchased (and baked) some pretty awful vegan cookies-but that had more to do with the bakers and recipes than being vegan. I prefer baked goods made without EnerG egg replacer. I may be the only one, but for some reason it produces an off-taste to me. I can always tell by taste if it is used in a commercial product. Just ate two(!!) vegan cupcakes that I was given for my birthday. My neighbors go to a gluten-free bakery, where they came across vegan cupcakes. Mmmm light and moist, with a not-too-sweet-or- greasy buttercream..and sprinkles 🙂

  3. Vegan Karen April 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Just wanted to say, as a Vegan who became vegan due to a casein “allergy” when you read ingredient labels and they say NATURAL FLAVORS or CARAMEL COLORING, that can mean WHEY PROTEIN. Many manufacturers use whey as a way to boost natural flavors. It’s sad that they don’t have to label the item as containing milk, but because it’s less than 2% of the whey, FDA rules say they don’t have to state it in parenthesis like other items.
    Somewhere between 3 and 5% of the population of the USA has a casein intollerance. That number seems very small until you think about how many people are in the USA and how many thousands of people 3 to 5% really is.

    • jwoolman March 24, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

      About 3% of the population is Jewish (and only a percentage of that group keeps kosher). But that’s enough for kosher products to be made and marketed even in my area, where the only temple is Reform and has a handful of members… Anyway, in a country the size of the USA, 3% to 5% is huge. Especially when you add people who are vegan or allergic to whey or allergic to milk in general or who just want to reduce dairy for other reasons.

  4. Christina August 31, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Hello there…. I am a troop leader from the Girl Scouts of Orange County and involved with the cookie sales every year….. and yes, we sell ABC cookies!! I have had people who have come to our booths specifically looking for things like Dairy Free, Vegan gluten free and sugar free cookies. We do have Dairy Free and Vegan cookies, but they are not making any gluten free or sugar free cookies. You can find answers to some of your questions about ABC cookies at their Website – http://www.abcsmartcookie.org.
    And if you go to that site, you can find the cookie locator app that they have available for your smartphone (I haven’t tried the Kellog one to see if they cross over yet.

    • insufferablevegan October 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

      Christina, thanks for your reply. I wound up driving to Whittier to get my vegan Girl Scout cookies. I’m so glad the Girl Scouts of Orange County get their cookies from ABC Bakers and not Little Brownie!

      • christin February 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

        I wish we didn’t have to drive to get them. There are plenty of troops selling within walking distance and driving far with a toddler is a big pain. I say that some girl scouts from orange county should come set up a vegan cookie booth in LA!

  5. chanel taschen ebay sale May 10, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    Wie bringe ich mein Kind an die Spitze? Das ist die eine Frage. Die andere ist, woran sich so ein Kind erinnert, wenn es dort angekommen ist, wo es sich die Eltern immer gew眉nscht haben.


  1. This just in… some Girl Scout Cookies are Vegan! « A Vegan in Progress - February 10, 2013

    […] under “explore topics” so I can find new cool blogs to follow.  Today I came across this post from Insufferable Vegan that says that some Girl Scout cookies are vegan.  I’m a former Girl Scout, so I like to […]

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