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  • Jan
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Girl Scout Cookies: 2011’s Cruelty-Free Choices

Posted by at 1:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (23)
Girl Scout Cookies

MTB Vegan / CC by 2.0

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!

Image: MTB Vegan / CC by 2.0

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  • Dani Hy Dennenberg says:

    Fellow vegans will want to know about this: http://www.change.org/petitions/girl-scouts-make-your-cookies-rainforest-safe.

  • Adam says:

    Are any of them vegan in 2012? I looked at a handful of the labels and all of them seemed to included milk.

  • Erin says:

    Peanut Butter Patties (Tagalongs) are NOT vegan…at least in 2012. Though I doubt the recipe has changed much.

  • andrea says:

    Are thin mints vegan?

  • Leila says:

    Has anyone managed to find the vegan cookies? From the comments it sounds like the West Coast is a Little Brownie area, but I’m in NYC, and it also seems to be a Little Brownie area (as I learned to my deep disappointment when I tried to buy cookies from a coworker just now). Where are the ABC cookies sold, and how can I get them? Thanks.

  • jackie says:

    The penutbutter patties are processed on equipment shared with milk. I don’t consider that vegan.

  • Michelle B says:

    I had the same experience as Jess: on the west coast they use a different bakery and all of the cookies have milk ingredients. When I looked at Girl Scouts’ FAQ, they say they don’t have vegan and “special diet” cookies because there isn’t much demand. I think that’s nonsense. Most of us have gotten in the habit of walking right by these kids when they’re selling cookies, and if we engage with them and let then know there IS a demand, they’ll get a clue.

    Some of you might have seen a report about a boycott effort underway because a troop admitted a transgendered child.

    I’d like to buycott the boycott to support their inclusiveness AND their (so far) half-hearted effort to offer some cruelty-free cookies. So I’m ordering some from out of my area. They probably are serious junk food. But, hey, they’re COOKIES! And there are two causes to support here. Ah, the way we sacrifice ourselves for the cause… 🙂

  • Stephanie says:

    The Lemonades are awesome. If you love a light lemon flavor, I recommend these tasty treats! They might not be all the good for you, but any chance big or small to support cruelty free is healthy in my book 🙂

  • Jenni says:

    The Thin Mints are also vegan in my area (Rochester, NY)! I bought a box for my dad, read the ingredients, and jumped out of my seat because I used to LOVE these frozen. Well, they’re okay, not as tasty as I remember… there are certainly more delicious vegan treats now a days that are also healthier, but at least I can give my dad these with a little bit better conscience 🙂

  • Sharon says:

    Exciting news about the PB patties. Those were always my fave. The others sound great too. Nice discussion about the sugar issues. Certainly makes the case for staying away from highly processed foods to begin with. However, if you want to indulge it’s nice to have some options. Thanks for another great report!

  • Jess says:

    All of the available vegan options are made by ABC Bakers. If you happen to live in a Little Brownie Baker area, all of the cookies have either milk fats or whey in them. The two bakeries do not use identical recipes and the nutritional info is not identical.

  • cq says:

    Unhealthy or not…I think it’s great that they have made available some options for vegans, and two of the them: thanks-a-lot and the peanut butter patties are awesome!! So bravo to Girl Scouts for giving us an option!! Just because you are vegan, does not mean you always have to eat healthy. Its about being able to eat unhealthy foods in moderation! Shouldn’t deprive yourself!!! And least they are a very tasty treat!!!

  • Gladgirl75 says:

    It doesn’t appear that “Daisy go Rounds” are made any longer. I couldn’t find them in either of the baker’s links. A quick google search found that they were made by the ABC Baker, but were replaced by “Shout Outs” this season. Btw, thanks so much for this info, I would hate to have to turn those little kids down at the store.

  • Laurie says:

    Oh YEAH!!!! Peanut Butter Patties!!!!VEGAN!!!

  • Rick Thompson says:

    These are the ones that are vegan for 2011: Thanks-A-Lot, Shout Outs!, Lemonades, Daisy Go Rounds, and Peanut Butter Patties. The ones mentioned by Harley in the comment before yours would be the Peanut Butter Patties.

  • Ann says:

    This is wonderful! I’m trying to be healthy, but everyone deserves a treat now and then and when I feel like being decadent, its great to find vegan treats – especially peanut butter cookies. Mmmmmmm. I’m definitely buying these, I have a lot of fond memories of girl scouts back in the day, so I think its just great that the girls scouts are keeping up with the times and embracing cruelty free changes!

  • Destiny Golden says:

    Which ones are vegan?

  • Harley says:

    So just a little thing, there are the peanut butter with the chocolate covering cookies in Texas are Vegan! Have been for a couple years at least.

  • Tina says:

    I would not eat any of this either, sometimes vegan is unhealthy. But I am heartened that they are least offering choices. I also hope that the public buys some to keep it afloat. Maybe I will buy some, to show some enthusiam for offering this vegan choice.

  • Pamela Sabatini says:


  • Kelly says:

    I won’t eat any of them, but I’m glad they have vegan options.

  • Paul says:

    Hi Birdfeed,

    The ingredients page for Thanks-A-Lot cookies actually lists cocoa as one of the ingredients, though it’s a little far down on the list. As Rick mentions, these cookies are definitely NOT health food!

  • Birdfeed says:

    The Thanks-A-Lot cookies are described as being dipped in fudge, but there are no chocolate ingredients listed on the nutrition facts. I’d check more into that one first for sure.

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