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Girl Scouts deal with supply and demand issue around limited edition cookies

Image Commercially Licensed from: Unsplash
Image Commercially Licensed from: Unsplash

Girl Scouts – For decades, Girl Scouts and cookie sales have been connected with both generating funds and teaching girls about business.

In 2023, the Raspberry Rally Cookie taught the Girl Scouts a hard lesson about high demand meeting limited supply.

The cookie

One of the most popular cookies is the Raspberry Rally Cookie.

It’s a raspberry-flavored Thin Mint cookie that was only created in small numbers.

Despite this, the cookies’ success shocked Girl Scout leaders, thanks to the new online-only ordering system.

Due to tremendous demand, some cookies were auctioned off on eBay, with some fetching as much as $40 per box.


Supply remained unchanged due to cookie makers’ inability to produce for Rally Cookies.

ABC Bakers, one of the Scouts’ manufacturers, stated that the limited-edition cookies needed more time to prepare.

Little Brownie Bakers, another manufacturer, cited weather for power outages at a Kentucky business, which caused more inventory difficulties and a lack of supplies.

As a result, the Raspberry Rally Cookies were quickly depleted.

Shortage aftermath

When customers hurried to get their hands on the cookies, scouts and parents were obliged to explain the situation.

It was a tough transaction, according to Scout parent Betsy Everett, alerting clients that there would be no more Rallies.

“When people ask for the new cookie, we tell them the situation and then they don’t want to buy anything,” she said.

“It’s disappointing for the girls.”

Numerous parents are upset not only about the shortages, but also with Girl Scouts USA’s “piecemeal information.”

As a result of the pandemic’s upheavals, their tolerance is wearing thin.

“Right now, we are focused on ensuring all Girl Scouts have a successful Cookie Season,” said Girl Scouts USA.

They also indicated that they were working on real-time optimization of processes in order to collect learnings that may improve their future approach.

Lessons have to be learnt the hard way in the current circumstances.

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What happened?

According to Terry Esper, logistics associate professor at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Commerce, forecasting demand for the cookies was tough.

He saw that the Girl Scouts had acquired them in an unusual manner.

The Raspberry Rally was a special offer in compared to other cookies that were only available for online delivery.

Customers might order their own boxes using the system.

In contrast, Girl Scouts encouraged them to ask scouts to submit orders.

They were slow to transfer sales online, but when the Rallies were launched, the sales channels helped them learn more about e-commerce.

The Rally Cookies are not meant to be sold at booths.

“Whenever you introduce a new way of buying a product, or a new channel to get access… that opens new [consumer] behavior,” said Esper.

Regardless of the current difficulty, internet ordering may have attracted additional customers.

Furthermore, the Girl Scouts generated a lot of buzz with the limited-time offer, creating a sense of urgency.

Seasonal plan

Consumers wanted the cookie, so Scouts and parents tried to increase supply, but it was impossible.

In 2022, ABC Bakers fulfilled the season plan that they announced to councils.

“We cannot produce more at this time, as we do not have unique materials and packaging,” the FAQ on the Girl Scouts Iowa site wrote.

“The lead times… are too long to produce in time for the remainder of this season.”

In March, Little Brownie Bakers advised local chapters of its concerns.

“We share the frustration that some Girl Scout troops feel this cookie season,” said a spokesperson.

“Global supply chain issues, compounded by local labor shortages and a weather-related power outage… continue to impact production.”

Communication problem

Scout parents who ordered the cookies were left to deal with the consequences and hassle of aiding scouts throughout the cookie-selling season, which runs from January to April.

Southeastern Michigan’s Betsy Everett orders cookies for three troops.

While she was able to get a few cases of Raspberry Rallies, other families in her unit were not so lucky.

“Out of our 30 scouts [across the troops], about three of them managed to order some cookies before they were gone,” she said.

Everett also encountered problems last year when some of her cookie orders got fulfilled in 2022, resulting in treats going missing from early cookie booths and then showing up weeks later.

Silver linings

Notwithstanding the criticism, some members of the Scouting world think there are some bright spots.

Raspberry Rallies were not organized by Deb Perry, a scout leader and co-leader of a Girl Scout troop west of Seattle.

The selling season begins early in several parts of the country.

Perry had heard about the shortage reports.

“We didn’t even push it, or encourage it with our troop,” she said.

“We just encourage them to sell what we have on hand.”

Perry saw the event as a chance for the scouts to practice adapting to and accepting hardship.

Scouts from Perry’s daughter’s pack suggested that anybody looking for the Rally try the Adventureful cookies, which were introduced last year.

“When things didn’t go as planned, or when people say no, the girls learn from that.”