Shortage of cookies: Girl Scouts in San Diego face supply chain issues

The supply chain is thinner than a Thin Mint this season. It’s stickier than the drizzled caramel of Samoa. And it’s changing faster than you can say Tagalong.

Girl Scouts in San Diego and Imperial Counties are facing a cookie shortage this year that has left troop leaders exhausted and parents stressed as their children get a crash course in running a business during a pandemic.

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Adventurers, the newest brownie-inspired creation, are hard to find. S’mores, the crispy graham sandwich cookies filled with chocolate and marshmallow, are also almost impossible to find.

The cookie supply is so tangled that Girl Scouts San Diego is extending the cookie-selling season, which started last month, from March 13 to March 27.

“This is probably the toughest season I’ve been through as a troop cookie manager, and this is my fourth year,” said Ioana Patringenaru, who helps her 12-year-old daughter Clara and d other members of their troop have to juggle the shrinking supply of baked goods this year. treaty.

In addition to her full-time job, the University City mom has gone out of her way to coordinate what flavors they have and don’t have for her 14-member cast.

“Of course you are frustrated,” Patringenaru said. “At the end of the day, you know, it’s just cookies… This is not the end of the world.”

The tight cookie supply stems from supply chain issues, namely inventory issues at Little Brownie Baker, one of two bakeries that supply Girl Scout cookies across the country, said Carol Dedrich, CEO of Girl Scouts San Diego.

Local “cookie cabinets” where troops can replenish their supply of cookies will not be replenished until March, Dedrich said. One cookie that will not be restocked due to a production cap at the bakery are S’mores.

The decision to extend the season aims to give the girls the best opportunity to achieve their goals at the biggest Girl Scout fundraiser of the year, she said. Proceeds go towards year-round programs for Girl Scouts and also to charitable causes chosen by each troop.

As the situation continues to evolve, she explained that the flavor selection depends on which neighborhood Girl Scout you buy from. For the nearly 15,000 Girl Scouts in San Diego and Imperial counties, that means making the most of what you have on hand and most importantly being aware that Thin Mints and Samoas are still the best-selling cookies.

Last Friday was the start of kiosk sales where Girl Scouts would unfold their tables outside grocery stores to sell their cookies to passing shoppers. But some troops might not even hold a booth because they don’t have enough cookies to sell right now.

It didn’t come to that for Troop 4486, but Patringenaru was concerned about how few peanut butter cookies she had on hand. At the start of the weekend, she had just 11 boxes of Tagalongs and five boxes of Do-si-dos to carry her daughter’s entire cast through the stall’s first day of sales.

His troupe wasn’t supposed to receive a shipment of these flavors until 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, which was after their first day of selling at the stand. She ended up grabbing a few boxes from another mother who had a few extra at home.

Ioana Patringenaru, the cookie manager for Troop 4486, had only a few boxes of Girl Scout Tagalongs and Do-si-dos left on Feb. 10, just days before they sold out at a stand.

(Courtesy of Ioana Patringenaru)

“We’re all volunteers, so it’s not a company or anything, so we don’t expect anyone to be a master of supply chain or inventory,” he said. she declared.

In-person kiosks aren’t the only way to sell, as each Girl Scout is equipped with a personal website they create to market their cookies digitally. Leena Iwamoto, 16, is focusing her strategy on digital sales, which proved effective last year when COVID-19 forced her troupe to adapt.

When she heard about possible cookie shortages this season, she said the news was “a bit shocking.”

The online platform is also helping it adapt to the changing offer of cookies this year. Recently, the supply of S’mores cookies ran dry, so his troop leader texted them to turn off that flavor setting so no one could buy it from the Boy Scouts’ personal cookie websites.

“I had never experienced anything like this. I mean, I read a bit about supply shortages across the economy, but for this to hit like close to home, it was pretty new” , she said.

Antionette Davis, who leads her 11-year-old daughter Nyliah’s troupe in Spring Valley, said she doesn’t let the supply chain stop her daughters from achieving their goals. Instead, the former Girl Scout encourages them to see this as an opportunity.

A Girl Scout donation box for the troops outside Boney's Bayside Market in Coronado on Friday, February 11, 2022.

A Girl Scout donation box for the troops outside Boney’s Bayside Market in Coronado on Friday, February 11, 2022.

(Kristian Carreon/For the San Diego Union-Tribune)

Last year, her daughter sold the most cookies she had ever sold during COVID-19, around 525 boxes, and collectively Troop 5808 sold around 3,000 boxes of cookies. Her daughters got creative with marketing, creating flyers with a personal QR code to buy cookies at his best-selling Scout holding signs with his own slogan to attract customers.

This year, her troop hopes to sell around 4,000 boxes and some of that money will go towards their project to create animal care packages at their local shelter.

Currently, Davis said his troop is stocked and they are ready to deal with any supply issues that may arise by selling other relatively new flavors like Lemon-Ups, which debuted. in 2020, in place of the more recent and elusive Adventurefuls.

“It’s a great way to highlight that there are things that won’t go as planned, and how can we strategize to achieve our goals? And, you know, turn lemons into lemonade, so to speak…or turn them into Lemon-Ups.

They also let people know they could buy cookies that will be donated to US troops as part of Operation Thin Mint.

Since 2002, this San Diego-born program has sent 3.7 million packets of cookies to support US troops deployed around the world. Dedrich said she was assured by Little Brownie Baker that all donation orders would be fulfilled and supply would be available when they ship later this spring.

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