When you bite into a Thin Mint, you probably aren’t wondering where it comes from.
But where you buy Girl Scout cookies determines which ones you get. There are two bakers. And they make two very different Thin Mints.
Orange County gets the crunchier Thin Mints, while Los Angeles gets the smoother ones; Dallas gets Samoas, but Fort Worth gets Caramel deLites. Most of Florida eats Tagalongs, but Orlando gets Peanut Butter Patties.
Which cookies are you eating? The Times created this interactive graphic that lets you search and compare your cookies. Just punch in your ZIP Code.
Here are more facts about the two Girl Scout cookies of America:
Two bakers supply the 200 million boxes sold every Girl Scout cookie season. ABC Bakers, owned by Interbake Foods and headquartered in Richmond, Va., has been baking for the Girl Scouts since 1937. Little Brownie Bakers, owned by Kellogg Co. and headquartered in Louisville, Ky., has been licensed by the Girl Scouts since 1974.
Each region’s Girl Scout council picks which baker to use and sets the price per box. One hundred percent of the net revenue goes to the local council. For each $5 box sold by the Greater Los Angeles council:
-- $0.96 (19%) goes toward the cost of the cookies, transportation and sales materials.
-- $1.81 (36%) pays for Girl Scout programs and events that teach leadership, science, art and the outdoors.
-- $1.13 to $1.23 (23%) is budgeted for “Troop Earnings and Rewards,” such as field trips, summer camp, community service projects and books.
-- $1.10 (22%) goes toward financial assistance for girls and volunteer resources.
Thin Mints are the only cookies that share the same name regardless of the baker. Thin Mints, which are trademarked, were first introduced in 1939 as Cooky-Mints, said Melanie Larsen, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.
Samoas, made by Little Brownie Bakers, have been around for 40 years. About 97.5 million Americans don’t get to buy Samoas from their Girl Scouts. Instead, they get Caramel deLites, which are made by ABC and have a milkier chocolate layer.
Do you feel as if you’ve missed out? Some Girl Scouts in Los Angeles County this week might be selling the other Thin Mints -- the ones usually sold in Orange County. Little Brownie Bakers had “unexpected and unprecedented distribution delays nationwide” for some cookies and worked with ABC Bakers this week to send additional shipments to Girl Scout regions that were running out.
“Please note that this is not a common practice to get cookies from another baker -- it is only due to the extreme circumstances of running low on the most popular variety that we are moving forward with this decision,” Little Brownie Bakers said in an email Friday to Girl Scout troops in L.A. about the Thin Mints switch.
Want another opinion about the difference in Girl Scout cookies? Central Track, a Dallas-based publication, performed its own analysis. One finding: "All of these cookies do have definite taste differences, despite what we’ve all been told. Still, the preference votes we took were pretty evenly split overall." Read it here. Saveur also did a Girl Scout cookie taste test.
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