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Woman Scout cookies have been offered in the US for generations, and all through that storied historical past we’ve seen cookie varieties come and go. However, why is that? What makes Skinny Mints worthy of a everlasting place whereas previous beloved flavors like Savannah Smiles, a half-moon-shaped lemon cookie offered from 2011 to 2019, get sunsetted?

Because it seems, there’s a technique behind the mayhem, Atlas Obscura writes, and it’s not simply how the cookie crumbles. Karen Schillings, a council historian for the Woman Scouts of Better Chicago and Northwest Indiana, defined to Atlas Obscura what it takes for sure cookies to change into a mainstay for the group and why some favorites are discontinued regardless of their recognition.

The 2024 Woman Scout cookie season

Disappointingly, the 2024 Woman Scout cookie season launched no new cookie varieties, whereas earlier years’ new releases had been met with an almost uncontrollable frenzy. What makes or breaks a brand new Woman Scout cookie taste is really a provide and demand challenge.

Woman Scout cookie followers have lengthy been conscious of the truth that there are two major bakeries that produce cookies every season for the group: Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakery. The bakeries every use completely different components and strategies to make the cookies, which may end up in a distinction in style and look because it did with the 2023 limited edition Raspberry Rally cookies. The cookies additionally typically bear completely different names; for instance, the favored Samoas are often known as Caramel deLites, relying on which bakery produced them.

How Woman Scout cookies be a part of the everlasting lineup

Schillings explains that every season the bakeries pitch new cookie concepts to the Woman Scouts of the USA, and if the nationwide group accepts one, then the bakery produces it for the upcoming season. Nevertheless, relying on the value of components and what it prices to supply a sure cookie, the bakeries might determine to cease making them.

Schillings additionally notes that if a cookie doesn’t promote sufficient bins it’s, after all, eradicated from the roster, and as a historian of Woman Scout cookies she has some insights into what tends to promote and what doesn’t. Cinnamon and sugar-free varieties don’t usually final on the lineup, for instance, whereas variations on lemon cookies have all the time remained a part of the rotation (there have been two on the roster for years: Lemon-Ups and Lemonades).

Though sugar-free cookies haven’t been extremely popular, cookies catering to dietary restrictions have been. Schillings says the Woman Scouts have not too long ago provided gluten-free choices just like the Toffee-tastic cookie from Little Brownie Bakers and the Caramel Chocolate Chip from ABC, each of which have remained within the lineup for years.

Woman Scout cookie mishaps

The Raspberry Rally incident of 2023 is a primary instance of how the Woman Scouts of the USA usually need to strategize on the subject of releasing restricted runs of cookie flavors. The Raspberry Rally cookies had been like Skinny Mints, however with a raspberry taste inside as a substitute of mint, and had been solely offered on-line. Schillings says Little Brownie Bakers struggled to supply components for the cookies.

“It ended up that they couldn’t fulfill the orders for them,” Schillings tells Atlas Obscura.

The scarcity led to many individuals promoting bins of the limited-edition cookies on the secondary marketplace for a significant markup. Regardless of this fiasco, Schillings notes that sustaining a roster of staple cookie flavors whereas additionally swapping in limited-time cookies helps maintain folks every season.

In spite of everything, understanding client preferences and market tendencies are beneficial abilities in enterprise—and what’s Woman Scouts of the USA if not a corporation that fosters the entrepreneurial spirit in younger ladies? Enterprise is enterprise, folks. There’s no use crying over discontinued cookies.

A version of this story was originally published on The Takeout.

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