It’s that time of year again already: time for Girl Scout cookies! The requests for you to buy the cookies come from family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. The Girl Scouts are an inclusive organization and worthy of our support (unlike some other scouting organizations).
Unfortunately, last year-and much to my dismay-none of the cookies available were vegan. My several inquiries to Girl Scout officials went unanswered. My plea was for the Girl Scouts to offer at least one variety (or more!) that was cruelty-free (not containing any eggs or dairy products). This seemed like a reasonable request, since some of the most popular, mass-marketed cookies, including Oreos and Nutter Butters, are cruelty-free and vegan.
So I was all set to rant and warn in this post about the lack of vegan Girl Scout cookies. But lo and behold, for 2011, there are several vegan choices! Of the 17 varieties available (and not all varieties may be available everywhere), five contain no eggs or dairy products. The following five options are vegan: Thanks-A-Lot, Shout Outs!, Lemonades, Daisy Go Rounds, and Peanut Butter Patties.
Two bakeries, ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers, make all the Girl Scout cookies. The links to both bakeries provide access to detailed nutrition and ingredient information for each variety. One thing becomes very clear very quickly: These are not health foods! For example, several varieties contain high fructose corn syrup. Many questions about the ingredients are answered in the official Girl Scout cookies FAQs.
Then there’s the whole sugar issue. Because some sugar is processed using bone char to make it white, many vegans will not consume bone char-sourced sugar. Tracking down the source of the sugar to determine if bone char was used is difficult, if not impossible, for large manufacturers. Since some commercial bakeries would not be as sensitive to using sugar that is not as white (why pay more for a process that isn’t essential to the end product?), there may be a better-than-average chance that the sugar used in the Girl Scout cookies is vegan. You’ll have to make your own decision on this issue.
Just like with all other products, consumer demand determines product success. So make sure you support both the Girl Scouts and cruelty-free shopping by buying one or more of the five cruelty-free Girl Scout cookie choices this year. Not only is it good for the Girl Scouts, it’s also good for animals.
Let us know which vegan Girl Scout cookies you like best!