Lady Scout’s scarcity of biscuits makes the baker pissed off

Girl Scouts announced the new Raspberry Rally Cookie on August 16, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.

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This is how the Girl Scout biscuit crumbles.

Amid widespread cookie shortages, Girl Scouts of the USA said they are “keeping their options open” as frustrations mount with one of their baking partners, Little Brownie Bakers, owned by Italian confectionery giant Ferrero.

Little Brownie Bakers, or LBB, told Girl Scouts Monday morning that weather-related power outages at its Louisville, Kentucky, factory halted cookie production for the weekend of March 5, pushing back inventories even further.

The blackouts come amid a series of production delays and problems that LBB has been citing to Girl Scouts since January, the start of the selling season, according to a person familiar with the matter. In an email obtained by CNBC, Girl Scout executives told local squad leaders that they expected their backing partners to be “more ahead of demand” than LBB previously.

The inventory problems have resulted in shortages of some cookie flavors, which has caused resale prices for Girl Scout cookies to skyrocket. Boxes of the latest limited-edition flavor, Raspberry Rally, are selling on eBay for $35. Boxes of Girl Scout cookies are typically $5 each.

Little Brownie Bakers has also said mechanical issues got in the way of producing Samoas, the popular caramel coconut cookie. This is the third year in a row that the baker has struggled with biscuit production, said the person who is not allowed to speak publicly on the matter.

“We are very disappointed that LBB is once again having trouble managing its production,” a Girl Scout spokesperson told CNBC. “We will address these issues with our bakery partner in the future and keep all options open to do the right thing for our girls.”

As of this week around 75% of the local Girl Scout troops are being supplied by the LBB and as a result have not been able to meet their sales targets for biscuit sales which are the biggest funding driver for the troops. The other 25% of Girl Scout Councils are supplied by ABC Bakers, a smaller bakery that the Girl Scouts say hasn’t had the same production problems as LBB.

Certainly LBB has shipped over 84 million packages to local troops and produced more Girl Scout cookies than this time last year, said a spokesman for Ferrero, which makes Ferrero Rocher’s chocolate and hazelnut treats.

Ferrero Rocher chocolate and hazelnut confectionery seen in a supermarket.

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“Global supply chain issues, local labor shortages, and even unforeseen severe weather have all impacted the selling season, but Little Brownie Bakers is on track to start filling the first orders,” Ferrero told CNBC.

Meanwhile, Ferrero said that “teams at our bakery have been working overtime” to ensure the first orders of Girl Scout cookies are filled.

For the remainder of the sales season, Thin Mints, Adventurefuls, and S’mores are the only remaining cookie flavors available for online purchase at some Girl Scouts in states like New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama, Oregon, and others. Orders already placed will not be affected, and customers in affected areas can still purchase the other flavors in person at local Girl Scout cookie kiosks.

Ferrero, also known for brands like Nutella and Kinder Bueno, has aimed to grow over the past year. In November, the company broke ground on a $214 million expansion of its Bloomington, Illinois manufacturing facility to make Kinder Bueno chocolate for the first time in North America. The company said the Kinder Bueno project has created 200 new jobs in Bloomington.

In December, it agreed to buy ice cream giant Wells Enterprises, which would expand its presence in North America.

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